"I don't know if my mom knows my name, but she knows my presence," Lori Hershey said. Her mom has dementia and Hershey's been watching, through a glass door, her decline for 100 plus days now.
The governor's orders to ban visitors from nursing homes in Florida, Hershey says, needs to be adjusted.
She believes loved ones can wear PPE, follow safety rules, and go inside nursing homes to see their mother, father, husband or close family members.
Hershey has started a petition drive. "Families need to make some noise," she says.
Efforts to contact the governor, Hershey and others tell First Coast News, have gone unanswered.
Hershey is hoping for 10,000 signatures.
Here's the link to the petition. You can use your name or not.
Hershey knows not everyone agrees. Pegine Eschevarria has a mother with dementia in memory care. She's saying, "I miss holding my mom's hand." But with our seniors so fragile in the pandemic, she says, "It could kill them."
Eschevarria says, "I have not seen my mom in person...since March 4. I don't want to touch her." She says it's too risky. And she doesn't want visitors coming in either.
Hershey has this response: "I think it's worse for loved ones to be alone and not know they are loved."
Medical experts are raising concerns that this long stretch of isolation can physically and emotionally harm seniors, especially those with dementia.