Long-term care residents find comfort with family on Thanksgiving

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thanksgiving brought some much-needed family time for loved ones inside long-term care facilities, especially after COVID-19 put up restrictions making it a challenge for families to visit them.

Families who set up an appointment had Thanksgiving dinner with their loved ones at Starling at San Jose in Jacksonville. Families sat outside and were served and many of them said at the rate of this virus, they didn’t think it was going to happen.

“Things like this are the most memorable days,” said resident Betty Howie.

Howie and her husband moved to Starling in July, one of the peak months early in the pandemic.

Her daughter Heather Alexander lives near the facility and says when they first moved, she and her husband were quarantined.

“I couldn’t come in, and that’s just the way it was,” Alexander said. “We had window visits for a while. This is really the first opportunity that we have all been together and we’re very thankful for that.”

So their family and others gathered outside for a Thanksgiving meal.

“It’s been worth the quarantine to get to be with family,” said Jordan Alexander, who was visiting his grandparents.

And like many families this holiday season, they are willing to do whatever to make it work.

The Alexander family says they are having a Zoom Thanksgiving dinner later on Thursday so some other family members can see them.

They also say they are incredibly thankful for the work Starling has done to keep residents safe and to make today happen.

The facility is not on the state’s report that lists deaths at long-term care facilities.

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