JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As millions of Americans await the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, a Jacksonville woman hopes her husband, who is fighting Alzheimer’s, is among the first to get it.
Mary Daniel has been visiting her husband Steve every day at Rosecastle at Deerwood, a long-term memory care center located along R G Skinner Parkway off Interstate 295.
At the outset of the pandemic, Daniel wasn’t allowed to see her husband. So from July 3 through September, she took a job washing dishes at the facility in order to be near him.
Restrictions placed on visitation at long-term care facilities were lifted this fall, so now Daniel can visit her husband as both his primary caregiver and wife. But COVID-19 has brought stress to her life.
“It’s really affected us caregivers, family members because right now we are not able to bring our loved ones home for the holidays,” Daniel told News4Jax.
Daniel hopes the vaccine will be available to her husband soon. She wants him to come home for the holidays, but that won’t happen without the vaccine.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has said that when Florida receives its first shipment, the state’s priority will be getting residents and staff of long-term care facilities vaccinated, along with health care workers.
For Daniel, the wait is tough to endure because the stakes are high. “I believe it is our only hope to have normalcy in any time in the near future because his time is limited,” she said.
Time is crucial because Daniel’s husband lives with early onset Alzheimer’s. She said he doesn’t know about anything that has happened this year, including COVID-19, but he knows his family and friends.
The couple is supposed to celebrate their 25th anniversary next April.
“It’s going to be gone one day and I just want to be sure we were able to love him as much as we can,” she said. “I just want to make sure we can do that.”