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Coker Law Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Steve Watrel Featured in Action News Jax Story

Posted on Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

Jacksonville area families find ways to communicate to elderly loved ones

JACKSONVILLE AREA, Fla. — Many local families are finding ways to communicate with their elderly loved ones.

“Not being able to touch her and talk to her, that’s been hard, dearly. Every time they send me a picture, I start crying,” said Mona Peterson.

Peterson gets pictures of her 93-year-old mother, but it’s not like being there.

“It’s hard. I’ll be honest,” she said.

Her mom, Billie Peterson has dementia and lives at a local assisted living facility. Mona Peterson is used to seeing her every day.

“When she sees me she wants to hold my hand and fix my hair,” she said.

But Peterson’s visits with her mom are on hold. Florida banned visitors, including family members at all assisted living facilities for 30 days because of the coronavirus.

“Many times, frankly, the family members are the ones providing the hands on care and really providing the only social interaction outside of the staff helping them with their activities,” said Steve Watrel, a nursing home litigation specialist with Coker law firm.

He said every resident has the right to communicate with their loved ones, and the facilities need to help make that happen. Because Peterson’s mother has dementia, she’s afraid video chats will only upset her.

“I don’t want her to be so upset that she sees me but she can’t touch me. That right there can be very detrimental for her, and that’s what we are trying to figure out,” she said.

It’s all new for Peterson and families across Florida who are trying to figure out how to ensure their loved ones know they’re not alone.

“All we can do is just pray this is over soon,” Peterson said