by Varshini Chellapilla
Peggy Williams has seen her husband only three times since March. Jack Williams, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013, is a resident at a long-term care facility that locked down at the very beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The last time they met, a plexiglass wall stood between them as they maintained a distance of six feet from one another. With Jack’s hearing problems, the masks, and the traffic from the road, Peggy had to yell to be heard.
“I didn’t even know that Jack started to gain a lot of weight and his clothes weren’t fitting him until the first time on the porch visit,” Peggy said. “Because I’d only seen him from the shoulders up on FaceTime. And Jack, of course, can’t communicate with me. His verbal skills are almost gone.”
At the end of the visit, Jack was upset. He couldn’t understand why his wife had to leave.
“They’ve kept Jack safe from COVID but, as far as emotionally and the mental toll, it’s been hell,” Peggy said. “It’s almost like he doesn’t exist anymore. The world just gets smaller and smaller, and it’s been really hard.”