One couple is not letting nursing home restrictions come between their love

KFDA COVID-19 Love Story

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - When a family member lives in a nursing home, going to visit is one of the only ways to see each other. With new restrictions put in place to protect our elders, many visitors are stuck behind a window to catch up with their loved ones.

“We live one mile from the nursing home, and I have always been able to go daily until we had this virus shut down, you know. Other than that, it’s been really hard,” said Barbara Vernell Sheets, wife to a nursing home resident.

For the last 50 years, Bill and Barbara have seen each other every day, even after Bill moved into a nursing home last year.

Because nursing homes are enforcing social distancing, Barbara is doing whatever she can to show her husband how much she loves him.

“Before, when she wasn’t able to see him for those two weeks, she was very emotional. They have seen each other for the last 50 years, literally every day. He went into the nursing home October of 2019, and she literally has gone up there every single day since he’s been in there. It’s been really hard on both of them,” said Alexia Tran, Bill and Barbara’s granddaughter.

Bill is battling some memory issues, but hearing his wife sing him their love song still puts a big smile on his face.

“Have I told you lately that I love you? Well darling, I’m telling you now. Love you! Love you!” said Mrs. Sheets.

Having the option to coordinate visitation through the window has helped keep both of them happy.

“We do communicate. We sing our love songs to each other and stay connected, you know, through that way. It helps a lot just being able to have him reach out,” said Mrs. Sheets.

On April 3, the couple will be celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary. They are hoping they can be in the same room for the first time in weeks for their special day. If not, they will continue to be creative with their visitation and make it as special as possible.

“Their love is so unconditional. It’s so pure. They have such a beautiful love story. If we had time, I would tell you the whole story. Papa is in awe of her, it’s like the sweetest thing ever, and they just absolutely love each other,” said Tran.

Besides seeing each other through the window, residents at Hillside Heights Rehabilitation Suites in Amarillo now have the option to video chat with their loved ones. It gives them the opportunity to not only speak with family, but see their faces as well.

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