Face-to-face visits now possible at Georgia assisted living community

Donated plexiglass, phones allow residents to see and talk to visitors

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Residents at an assisted living community in St. Simons Island, Georgia, can now safely see and speak with their loved ones one on one. Thrive at Frederica has a new plexiglass barrier, allowing families to stay connected.

Imagine only being able to see and speak to your loved ones from a far distance.

As Lindsey Spearman learned, plexiglass and a telephone with a cord, make all the difference.

Spearman is now able to speak face-to-face with her mother, Mary Stanley.

"She was so happy," Spearman said. "It really just lifts our spirits."

Spearman tells News4Jax her mother is a resident receiving memory care. She says knowing her mom can see her and speak to her up close brings comfort.

"I think a lot of time with dementia, there's a lot of anxiety and depression associated," Spearman said. "So, for them to see us, and especially for my mom, that I live here... she can physically see me not through a FaceTime or a phone call. I think it just gives her so much hope!"

Tatjana Harper is the community's president.

"They have not had visitors, other than maybe to wave out the window or through the door, in almost a month now," Harper said. "That's a long time."

Harper tells News4jax the company’s owner designed the barriers with the help of his father.

They are portable, allowing for visits to happen right in the front doorway. Harper says not having visitors is hard on everyone.

"As we get to know them, we get to know the family," Harper said. "We fall in love with them. Suddenly when they're not allowed in the building, you're like, 'Man, I really miss them'. They all become part of our family."

But seeing those first talks through the plexiglass was everything.

"It's very touching, very touching," Harper said.

News4Jax was there for Spearman’s visit with her mother. The women allowed us to listen in. From conversations about grandchildren to girl talks between mother and daughter, these are the precious moments to forever cherish.

Thrive at Frederica is taking a multitude of precautions to prevent COVID-19 from infiltrating the community. Residents' meals are being delivered to their rooms, staff members wear masks, and social distancing is in full practice.

To learn more about the community, click here.

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