‘IT WAS LIKE HEAVEN’: Mother and daughter reunited after over a year
A 96-year-old care home resident has told of her joy after holding hands with her daughter for the first time in over a year.
Bettie Lovell, who lives at Abbeyfield House, in Bramhall, Stockport, says it was ‘like heaven’ to have precious physical contact with her family again.
The emotional moment was made possible by the relaxation of care home Covid rules- which now allow residents two nominated visitors.
It has been a godsend to Bettie – a mother of four, with nine grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren – who says the separation from her family has been ‘terrible’.
“I have missed them so much,” she said.
“We’ve been talking on the phone and video calls, but it’s not the same.
“I’m overjoyed that Pamela is able to come and visit me again.”
Describing the special moment she added: “It was like heaven again. You get very unhappy inside and it’s so lovely to feel happy again.
“I don’t think anybody understands what we have done to old people. When you are without your family it’s very hard, it really is and it was so lovely to see her.”
The government first relaxed care home rules in March to allow one nominated visitor – and extended that to two from April 12.
Bettie – who enjoyed dancing and swimming into her 90s – has since been visited by her youngest son Philip whom she had not seen for more than a year.
It was another long-awaited and precious moment.
“It was lovely,” said Bettie. “He is ever so good to me. He loves me a lot, I know he does and I love him as well. He does a lot for me.”
Now Bettie is hoping it will not be long before she can see her other children, Susan and John, as well as her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
“With a bit of luck the government might change their mind and lets us all go out again. We feel trapped at the moment,” she said.
Bettie, who lost her beloved husband Reg more than 30 years ago, lived by herself before moving to supported living in Stockport after a bout of illness in 2018.
She believes this made her better equipped to deal with the ‘harsh restrictions’ of lockdown than some other people here age.
“Because I lived so far away from my family originally I didn’t see them that often – and consequently I think that’s helped me to cope with not seeing them, otherwise I think I would have gone mad,” she said.
Last year Bettie was living in supported accommodation at High Lane, but was admitted to hospital after suffering a fall on New Year’s Day 2021.
This meant two spells of 14-day isolation after she was transferred to rehab care and then, finally, to her new home in Bramhall.
She is already a much-loved resident at Abbeyfield House, where she is famed for her ‘dancing eyes’.
Bettie has enjoyed an active life, notably setting up a school for disabled children while living in South Africa.
Despite having lost her beloved husband Reg more than 30 years ago, she continued to live an active life, enjoying swimming, dancing and gardening.
She became involved in fundraising for Tearfund, when she returned to the UK, living in Heybrook Bay – a small village near Plymouth.
“It’s amazing how much money you can make. I love making jam and cakes and things like that. We used to do coffee mornings and afternoon teas and made quite a lot of money for them,” said Bettie.
“It was really very interesting and you meet a lot of nice people. People are always willing to give.”
Now with lockdown easing and hopes rising for a return to normality, Bettie is looking forward to summer and getting to know her new community.
“I’m looking forward to going into the garden again. We have lots of lovely pots to put flowers in.
A keen fundraiser all her life, Bettie has already suggested holding an afternoon tea Abbeyfield House and selling plants to drum up money for charity.
“I’m eager to explore the local community in Bramhall when lockdown is over,” she added.
“And I look forward to seeing which charitable organisations could benefit from my help and experience.”
Words: Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter
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