The COVID-19 pandemic has without question devastated the lives of thousands of North Dakotans that either reside in nursing homes or assisted living centers or are their family members and loved ones.  Couples who have been married for decades have now been separated for months.

Today is an amazing day for so many who have waited so long to see their loved ones. Unfortunately, it was too late for many who lost someone close without being able to be by their side.  KXNet reports on the story here.

It doesn't automatically affect all centers so you'll need to contact the institution and see what reopening phase they are in and if you would be able to set up an appointment to visit with your loved one. So far, visits will be limited to outdoor visitation and will require you to wear a mask and practice social distancing.  But what a visit it will be!

My girlfriend Brenda's family got together this weekend for a similar situation.  Her grandmother Betty is 103 years old and still lives in her own apartment.  Well the family has been wisely self-quarantining from her for months knowing that being 103 is enough of a underlying health condition for an "abundance of caution". (when was the last time you heard that phrase?)

So family from across the state came to gather Saturday in Sertoma Park.  Saturday, you may remember, was a 40 MPH wind with 50 MPH gusts.  But we tarped up the corner of the shelter and had a real nice visit with Betty.

Betty was lucky enough to have contact with many close to her this whole time.  The stoicness and sadness of those that have not had that is not lost on me.  Many seniors feel as they should not be in these places to begin with, even though they require additional care daily.  What then will be their thoughts after months of perceived abandonment?

In many cases it will be all the more difficult- but soon we can share these thoughts and feelings together.

And with any luck Bingo will be back soon.