• Wed. Mar 3rd, 2021

Daughter who has only seen mum through glass plans emotional reunion


Feb 22, 2021

Anne Kelly’s granddaughters Amy and Laura have not been able to have physical contact with her during the pandemic (Picture: Debbie Upton)

The daughter of a care home resident with advanced Alzheimer’s is looking forward to the ‘amazing’ moment she will be reunited with her mother after nine months without physical contact.

Debbie Upton says it will be an ‘emotional day’ when she is finally able to reach out and touch 83-year-old Anne Kelly after the ‘horrendous’ impact of the pandemic on their close relationship.

Anne, a ‘much loved’ former publican, was first placed in a care home in June 2020, since when the grandmother-of-four has been left confused at being on the other side of a window from her family.

In December, Anne was moved to her current home in East Sussex where Debbie is looking forward to finally hugging her mother.

Under the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, each care home resident will be allowed one regular indoor visitor from March 8.

Debbie, who in St Leonards-on-Sea close to the home, said: ‘It’s been horrendous not being able to see my mum in person.

‘Her home gives her all the care, love and support she needs but we’ve only been to see her through a glass window. I can’t begin to describe what it will feel like to see her in person again, it will be absolutely fantastic.

Anne Kelly will be reunited with her daughter Debbie when care home visiting rules are relaxed by the Government in March (Picture: Debbie Upton)

‘To speak to mum through the glass we use a telephone but because she’s got advanced Alzheimer’s she doesn’t understand why I’m outside.

‘She sees me but thinks it’s someone else on the phone. It’s going to be an amazing, emotional day to finally be able to sit with her, to be able to hold her hand and reminisce and be with her in the way that only family can.’

Many families with loved ones in care homes feel it is too late to allow in-person contact again and that the Government should have found a solution much sooner in the pandemic.

Debbie, 56, has so far not been into her mother’s room and sits on a chair outside a closed window at Whitecliff care home to see her mother, who previously ran pubs in Sussex and Kingston-upon-Thames in London.

Debbie said: ‘You feel guilty and helpless because they are in the home and you can’t do anything do about it. Throughout our lives, if my mum hasn’t been with my sister she’s been with my family.

‘She’s a much-loved, popular lady who grew up in Merseyside and lived in Australia before running two pubs, but she’s been cut off from direct contact with us since the summer..

Daughters Debbie Upton (middle) and Sharon Valentine enjoy a drink with their ‘much loved’ mother Anne Kelly in Barcelona (Picture: Debbie Upton)

‘It’s an awfully long time without having your family close to you and she forgets who we are even when we hold up pictures of the family up at the window just hoping it will start a conversation.

‘All the while we are losing mum daily and every day is different. Yesterday when I was walking towards the window she put her hands to her face and burst into tears, like I was a long-lost relative, even though I go every day.

‘I’ve never sorted my mum’s clothes out or brushed her hair or done her nails, we’ve never had any of that time. It’s been heart-breaking.

‘I’m really grateful for what Whitecliff has done for mum, but their hands have been tied because of the Government restrictions.

‘The pandemic had has a massive impact on my mum, she’s been upset and muddled, which comes with Alzheimer’s, but to be on your own with no family contact makes it even worse.’

Anne Kelly with her granddaughters Amy Valentine (l) and Laura Upton before the family had contact limited under Covid restrictions (Picture: Debbie Upton)

Under the roadmap out of lockdown, regular visitors to care homes will be able to hold hands provided they take Covid tests before entry and wear PPE

Debbie is being supported by the Care Campaign for the Vulnerable, which is calling for a public inquiry into the Government’s handling of care homes during the pandemic.  

Founder Jayne Connery said: ‘Families denied visits to care homes this past year are telling us they are cautiously optimistic with the announcement that visits can now take place as of March 8 by allowing one designated family member to go in and hold the hand of a loved one.  

‘Families like Debbie’s are reporting to us they have waited patiently for nearly a year now to touch the hand and hug their loved ones in a care home, although many are still worried this guidance doesn’t go far enough.

‘We commend those care homes that have allowed safe visits throughout the pandemic as well as understanding the importance of allowing this.

‘We continue our call for a public inquiry into the Government’s handling of care homes during the Covid crisis.’ 

Announcing the new rules last week, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘I know how important visiting a loved one is and I’m pleased we will soon be in a position for people to be carefully and safely reunited with loved ones who live in care homes.

‘This is just the first step to getting back to where we want to be.

‘We need to make sure we keep the infection rate down, to allow greater visiting in a step-by-step way in the future.’

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Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown

Boris Johnson has laid out his plans to lift Covid-19 restrictions in England, following weeks of lockdown which began on January 4.

The Prime Minister confirmed that the route back to normality will depend upon four tests for easing restrictions and will take into account the success of the vaccine rollout.

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