BELLEAIR, Fla. — We have another heartfelt reunion to share this week, this time between a mother and a daughter separated during the state’s nursing home lockdown.
Ricki Reisinger was the very first person Spectrum Bay News 9’s Cait McVey spoke with about the effects of isolation on nursing home residents. At the time, it was just a couple of months into the pandemic and Reisinger shared her concerns about her mother’s declining health.
“In the last 2 months, she’s lost about 10 pounds,” Reisinger said at the time.
Two weeks ago, we got in touch with Reisinger again to get her reaction when Governor Ron DeSantis signed off on the limited reopening of long-term care facilities. At first, Reisinger said she was elated but then said she got pushback from her mother's Belleair nursing home.
“Mentaly and emotionally I was exhausted from it,” Reisinger said.
Finally though, Reisinger's heartache has been put on hold. The facility approved her as an “Essential Caregiver” and on Monday, she was finally able to visit with her mom.
“I couldn’t believe after 6 months I could finally hug my mom and hold her hand. I cried more and then she started crying and sobbing,” Reisinger said. “It was the best feeling in the world. Like that was the best day of my life when I got to see my mom after 184 days of separation.”
Reisinger’s sister was also been designated an “Essential Caregiver” and was also able to visit with their mother on Monday. Both women tell us they are already on the schedule for two more visits this week.