GOSHEN — Ilse Horton’s face lit up when she saw the family’s Chihuahua, Lew, through the window of her isolation room at Valley View nursing home Thursday.
Terri Blancato-Horton, 53, said her mother-in-law, Ilse Horton, 87, recently contracted COVID-19 and though she is doing fine, she has seemed depressed and lonely.
“It was really sweet. I was glad I brought him (Lew) because it lightened things up,” Blancato-Horton said. “He was being funny, making faces, and we were trying to get him to talk on the phone.”
Ilse Horton was moved out of her residence and into an isolation room to prevent spreading the disease to other residents and staff. Their short-but-sweet visit gives brief insight into what families can do to stay connected with their loved ones during the pandemic when it is not safe to see them in person.
Blancato-Horton and her husband, Steven Horton, 56, got the idea for a window visit after nursing home staff sent families an email with suggestions for ways to stay in touch with residents.
So, they packed up their Chihuahua, dressed him in a cute sweater, and brought him to Ilse Horton’s window, speaking to her through a cellphone.
“Her face lit up, an ear-to-ear smile, just to see the dog,” Blancato-Horton said. “… I was like, ‘I should take Lew to everyone’s window.'”
Despite how busy the staff is amid the current outbreak at the facility, they managed to organize a Poinsettia drive for residents, Blancato-Horton noted.
Staff also helped Blancanto-Horton and her husband find the correct window by giving them directions over the phone.
“As busy as these nurses are, and they’re short-staffed, they’re answering phone calls like that, like us lost on campus trying to find this window, so I’ve got to give them credit,” Blancato-Horton said.
The family is planning to do another window visit for Christmas.
“If you would’ve told me a year ago I would’ve been looking in windows trying to visit, it’s just so bizarre,” Blancato-Horton said.