Perhaps no population has been more affected by coronavirus restrictions than the residents of Iowa’s long term care facilities. When the virus was detected in the state last March, nursing home and assisted living facilities closed their doors. Residents and their families were left to communicate in video chats and waving to each other through windows. But last month, amid expanded distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the Iowa Department of Public Health eased some of those restrictions, opening the door to in-person visits. It’s been a welcome change for residents and families alike, who are happy to reunited as they reflect on how the year changed them.
Everything was great for Suzanne Murphy’s brother, 71-year-old Steve Tjarks, when he moved to Grand JiVante in Ackley two years ago. Tjarks was still free to visit with friends and family and he could leave to go to out eat. Most importantly, he could see his dad and his brother.