'It's a big deal to be in the same room as someone you love': Cork man visits mother in nursing home as restrictions lift

'It's a big deal to be in the same room as someone you love': Cork man visits mother in nursing home as restrictions lift

David O'Donovan with his mother Judy O'Donovan who he hasn't seen up close since before the previous lockdown.

A CORK man described how he fought back tears after being reunited with his mother for the first time in months following the return of nursing home visits this week.

David O’Donovan from Rathcormac said he had to keep his emotions in check after waiting such a long time to see his mother Judy. The musician said he was tempted to reach out and tap her on the shoulder to make sure she was real.

“I had to check whether hugs were allowed and they weren’t so I kept my emotions in check,” David told The Echo.

“If I had broken down she would have been looking at me asking what was wrong. It’s a big deal now to be able to be in the same room as the person you love.”

NPHET gave the green light for two weekly nursing home visits for residents from this week in cases where 80% of staff and residents received Covid-19 vaccinations.

“I hadn’t been able to be in the same room as her for such a long time. It was a strange feeling. I was tempted to just touch her on the shoulder to make sure she was still there. It was the first time I had seen my mum up close since taking her for a dentist’s appointment last September. I didn’t have to watch the clock which I would have been very conscious about before.”

Judy came to live in Cramer’s Court in Belgooly after her dementia progressed and she required round-the-clock care.

“We kept her at home for as long as we could. The thought of putting her into a nursing home was very upsetting. It wasn’t something we even wanted to consider. My worst fear was the day that I’d walk in and she wouldn’t know who I was but she knows us all and is able to rattle off the names of the kids.

“She was quite a worrier before and that’s all gone now. The lack of contact has made her regress that bit more but there’s nothing we can do That’s just the way it is.”

Although unable to see his mum, David knew she was always well cared for.

“Mum landed on her feet with Cramer’s Court and we are so happy with the way they are looking after her.”

David said he counts himself as lucky to have the chance to see his mother again.

“It was really difficult to hear about all the residents in nursing homes who have been forgotten about, especially when you hear about all the horrendous things that happened in Italy and Spain. Mum has survived this. There are so many people out there who not only had to bury their loved ones but had to pick and choose which family members could attend their funerals. Cramer’s Court shut down visitations before the government initially did in order to keep their residents safe. They did everything they could to protect residents.”

Mr O’Donovan added that he is now glad they celebrated their mum Judy’s 90th birthday a year early.

“She was 90 last year but we celebrated the milestone two years ago. We didn’t know what stage her dementia would be at or if she would be able to enjoy it. That’s why we thought it would be best to celebrate early. Looking back we are really glad we did now as it wouldn’t have been a possibility during the pandemic.”

He praised the staff of Cramer’s Court for playing their part during the pandemic.

“They are learning on the job but every single staff member from the top-down has been great.”

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