Xenia woman removes mother from nursing home amid COVID pandemic

Xenia woman removes mother from nursing home amid COVID pandemic

XENIA — When the coronavirus pandemic started, long-term care facilities went into lock down to keep those who are most vulnerable safe. But Jeanne Mills, of Xenia, feared that isolation was taking a toll on her mother’s health and lowering the quality of life she had left.

After 5 months a part, a picture captured the moment Jeanne Mills was able to see her mother and hold her mother’s hand. The picture was taken the day Mills picked her mother, Theola Wilson, up from the nursing home to bring Theola home with her.

“To not be able to be with her for 5 months, that was the longest I was not able to be with [my mom] in my life,” Mills said.

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Mills told News Center 7′s Katy Andersen the hard times began in March when COVID-19 cases started to rise and nursing homes were shutdown. Mills had to rely on technology to see her mother.

“My mother is unable to use a cellphone, so we always had to go through the nurses station and it was very difficult at times to speak to her when the nurses are very busy taking take of the other residents,” Mills said.

As the months went on, Mills said she could tell her mother’s health was deteriorating. “We would hear our mother’s attitude, humor, and lightness just diminish… it was fading away every time we talked to her on the phone.”

In July, Governor Mike DeWine announced nursing homes could begin outdoor visitation, but ultimately the decision was left up to each nursing home. Mills said the nursing home her mother was in did not allow visitors. That’s when her family made the difficult decision to take Wilson out of the nursing home.

“When your mom is almost 90-years-old, you don’t live to get a new car, you don’t live to go on the next great vacation, you live to spend time with your family and that was being taken away,” Mills said.

Now that Wilson is home, it has not always been easy. Mills said it take help from the entire family. “My brother, my husband, or our son,” she said. “We even have to chart to make sure my mom has her medication on time, make sure someone has given her breakfast.”

Mills said she also had to transform their living room into a bedroom for Wilson. She said no family should have to go through this.

“We would dress up in scrubs, do whatever is needed to see our loved ones,” Mills said. “There’s got to be some type of meeting in the middle where all families can choose.”

Until then, Mills said she is cherishing the time spent with her mother. “We are trying to be extremely safe and cautious, but we are going to live life because we don’t know how much longer any of us have.”