Family has first in-person visit in nearly a year at senior living home

Posted at 11:36 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 05:23:56-05

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich (WXYZ)- — For the last year, Lakeshore Senior Living in St Clair Shores has felt closed off from the world.

Not just for residents, but for her families too.

“That was a real big blow when I got the email and they said 'sorry, we’re done,'” said Sherri Rudolph, whose mom is a resident.

That email came on March 11, 2020. It shut down visitation, which had been closed ever since. Her mother’s senior home a mile down the road suddenly felt an ocean away.

“It was very difficult," said Sherri's sister Lori Rudolph. "I felt like I had abandoned her, even though I didn’t.”

Meetings in the vestibule or from outside a window were the only in-person contact residents had with their families.

“We didn't think it would last long,” said Shannon East, Executive Director at Lakeshore Senior Living. "It's been pretty emotional for the residents and the staff, seeing the residents so isolated.”

But this week, the Rudolph's mother Joanne Schultz was out of her room heading to a special meeting, where new gifts and familiar faces were waiting.

“It's nice to see her, and hear her laugh," Sherri said of her mother. "She has a great laugh.”

A laugh that hasn’t faded, despite a year of near isolation. And despite a fading memory, what’s most important wasn’t forgotten.

“I'm really happy that she recognized us to be honest with you, because of the fact she’s in the memory care unit, out of sight out of mind so to speak,” Sherri said. "It's nice to see that she’s happy to see us.”