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Music for the soul: How one family is coping with nursing home restrictions due to coronavirus

One family is connecting with private concerts and art through the window of the nursing home.

WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio — Despite different nursing homes banning visitors in Northeast Ohio, one woman is getting a little creative with the rules.

Jeannie Fleming-Gifford’s mother has been in Ohio Living Breckenridge Village for more than four years, recovering from a stroke. Because of the coronavirus precautions, she’s no longer able to have face-to-face visitors as she had before.

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“I put on her blush, I pick her hair,” says Fleming-Gifford. “I make sure she has a pretty scarf on, things that still make her feel human.”

Since she’s no longer able to do that, her visits look a little different.

She now plays French horns, does chalk drawings and has sing-alongs with her husband and daughter outside of the nursing home window.

“We're gonna try to be really creative and you can see out the window and we can hear each other and talk to each other,” says Fleming-Gifford.

Each day presents new challenges, like explaining why kisses are through glass and why hugs are on hold.

“This is a situation none of us know how to deal with,” she says.

Fleming-Gifford says though the care at the facility is great, she can’t leave her mother to go through this without her.

“I told them she's going to die from social isolation before she dies of this virus.”

It’s the new normal for now, one that both her and her mother are trying their best to understand.

“I look at my mom through this window and smile at her right now,” she says. 

“This is crazy hard… but they need to know that we're out here, that we care for them, they're not alone because I think right now, we're all feeling kind of alone.”

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