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A ‘wonderful’ birthday visit

Local senior facilites now offering outdoor visits

Last Friday was the first day local senior facilities began offering outdoor visit appointments for seniors and their loved ones.

It was a big step for those who haven’t been able to visit their loved ones face-to-face since the beginning of March when many senior facilities around the state went on lockdown at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

One of the first appointments on Friday at Liberty Village in Princeton was scheduled for Julie Taylor of Princeton and her father, Dick Schmitt of Tiskilwa, who went to see their mother/wife, Barb Schmitt.

It all came at perfect timing as Barb was celebrating her 83rd birthday on Friday, as well.

Barb’s family members have been limited to seeing her through a window at Liberty Village since the lockdown, so to be able to visit her face-to-face outside was exciting for both the family and Barb.

“It’s difficult trying to keep myself in my chair,” Taylor said as her mother was wheeled outdoors to see her.

Taylor and Dick were restricted to stay in chairs set at safe distance away from Barb during the 20-minute visit.

There were tears shed as Taylor and her father had a hard time not jumping up and hugging Barb, but they both said it was great to be able to finally her without window glass or a screen between them.

“It’s better than nothing, I guess. It’s too bad we couldn’t make her a cake,” Taylor said.

“It’s wonderful,” Barb said, about seeing her family face-to-face again. It was the first time Barb said she’d been outdoors in four months. She took in the fresh air through her mask and enjoyed the steady breeze on Liberty Village’s veranda.

Since March, Barb and Dick have resorted to talking on the phone at the same time each day.

This week, the Schmitts will celebrate 65 years of marriage and Dick said it’s hard to not be able to hug his wife of that long.

Liberty Village is taking safe measures during these visits. Everyone who visits must wear a mask, complete a temperature check before seeing family members and maintain a distance of at least six-feet-apart from their loved one. Despite all the protocols, families like the Schmitts are thankful for what the senior facility has done.

“They quickly shutdown and I think that was excellent,” Taylor said. “Even through it was hard and my dad would come up everyday, it was hard. It’s still hard, but it was a good decision they made.”

Dick agreed.

“It was a really good thing what they did, because no one got sick,” he said.

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