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Families reunite on Mother’s Day at Utah assisted living facility



OREM, Utah — Mother’s Day seems a bit more special this year at assisted living facilities after a year defined by COVID-19 safety precautions.

Because senior citizens are the most vulnerable to serious COVID-19 infections, assisted living facilities were forced to shut themselves off to the outside world. In essence, they created a bubble to protect their residents.

“Did we have bad days? Yes, very bad days,” said Ronilla Cook, a resident at Orem’s Covington Senior Living. “But, we had more good days than bad days.”

Ronilla and her husband Mack live together at the facility. They have been married for 62 years.

In 2020, the pandemic caused the Cooks and many residents to spend holidays like Mother’s Day in isolation, or forced to see loved ones through a window.

Now, thanks to vaccines and decreasing case counts, doors have reopened, allowing families to reunite.

“Just being able to be with them, the touch, those things that you took for granted that we have now,” said Paul McGuire, who was visiting his mother Coreen.

For more than 90 days since the conclusion of the facility’s vaccine clinic, Covington Senior Living has had zero positive cases of COVID-19.

The assurance of a safe environment is helping boost morale of both residents and employees.

“Their quality of life and happiness are increasing,” said Mindy Hill, president of the facility and a board member of the Utah Assisted Living Association. “The sun is shining and things are safe and there is goodness and we are coming out of this.”

Life is finally returning to normal. The personal interactions that were missing for so long have reenergized residents. Winning the battle against the pandemic has made all the sacrifices of the past year worthwhile.

“It was amazing this year to realize we could get through anything because we had each other,” Ronilla said.