COVID-19 vaccine a ‘dose of hope’ for nursing home residents longing to see loved ones face-to-face

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — For many, the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic is having to stay away from friends and family.

Loneliness is especially felt at local nursing homes. Residents who received their first round of the vaccine say it was also a dose of hope.

‘Vaccination Day’ is what residents and staff at Bickford Senior Living have been waiting for. Resident Ginny Borth had no hesitations when it came to getting the shot.

“I got it because I wanted to be safe rather than sorry. You know, anything is better than being confined into the home,” Borth said.

This is the first step for many in the hopes of seeing their families in-person once again.

“I have five grandchildren and I miss them very much. At one time, they used to come and play cards with me, and on Friday nights we had card night,” said Jim Vant, another resident at Bickford.

COVID-19 has taken the lives of many older people, so Bickford wanted to show the importance of getting the vaccine with an amusing video.

“A way to talk about COVID without sadness. I mean, everywhere you go in the news–even here –when you talk about COVID, people are sad about it. We wanted to say once this vaccination is done we’re going to speak of no more. That’s it,” explained Dawn Withers, a life enrichment coordinator for Bickford.

About 80% of staff and residents decided to get the first dose.

“That’s what I’ve been waiting for. At my age, I definitely needed the shot. My family was concerned that I should get the shot as quickly as possible,” said Ronald Janecek.

“Nobody has sacrificed like the seniors and it has definitely changed their personalities. So, we owe it to them to do whatever it takes to get them to the happy place they were,” said Withers.

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