We’d ‘rather die from COVID than loneliness’: Nursing home residents protest lockdowns
COLORADO, October 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Residents at a Colorado nursing home recently held an outdoor protest to show their anger against state COVID-19 visitor regulations which prevent physical contact with family members.
The heartbreaking demonstration saw residents protest with signs reading “Prisoners in our own home,” and “Give us freedom,” as well as “We want families back,” with one that read they would “rather die from COVID than loneliness.”
The protest took place on October 8 at Fairacres Manor located in Greeley, Colorado. Local news channel, CBS4 reported that around 20 residents participated in the protest, many of whom were in wheelchairs.
Colorado’s indoor visitation guidelines are extremely strict, allowing only for those 18 years or older to visit following “social distance guidelines” and mask-wearing.
Outdoor visiting is allowed with no age restrictions, but the guidelines state that visitors must wear a mask and keep a six-foot distance intact, meaning physical contact is not possible.
One resident told a local news station that all they want is a “simple hug.”
“We did this because one thing we have to look forward to is a simple hug,” said Fairacres Manor resident Sharon Peterson in the CBS4 report.
“We used to be lucky here at Fairacres to show each other what we mean to one another and we cannot do that anymore….. We did this because one thing we have to look forward to is a simple hug.”
Peterson, who is 75, is a long-term resident of Fairacres Manor and acts as its Resident Council President. The long-term care facility offers its residents nursing and rehabilitation services, and according to their website, is part of the Vivage - Senior Living communities group.
An assistant administrator at Fairacres Manor, Ben Gonzales, said in the CBS4 report that residents wanted to “hug their grandchildren,” and “be able to hold the hands of their loved ones.”
According to a Greeley Tribune report regarding the protest, Gonzales noted that both residents and staff had sent a letter in August to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as well as to Democratic Governor of Colorado Jared Polis, pleading with them to allow physical contact.
While Gonzales noted in the Tribune report that they did not hear a reply from Polis or the health department, the day after news broke of the protest, Polis issued a statement which was reported in the CBS4 report.
“We absolutely understand how difficult it has been for residents of residential care facilities and their families. Social interaction is essential to physical and mental health, and so we have provided guidance to residential care facilities that allows for that interaction while also keeping residents safe from COVID-19,” read Polis’s statement.
Polis has been a vocal advocate for the wearing of masks and following “social distancing” protocols in Colorado. This week he warned that his state needs to get COVID-19 “under control now” after a rise in case numbers.
While most COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. and Canada have been attributed to those over the age of 65, alarms have been raised over their treatment in care homes.
In July, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise blasted New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in his state, in particular his decision to force nursing homes accept COVID-19 patients.
In August, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requested data from the Democrat governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, whose states “required nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients to their vulnerable populations,” according to the DOJ.
In May, a report by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) alleged serious healthy and safety issues in five Ontario nursing homes, including evidence of malnourished and neglected residents, insect infestations, spoiled food, and a lack of proper safety precautions.