MERIDIAN, Idaho — For many people across the country, it's been over a year since they've seen their loved ones. The coronavirus pandemic has separated friends, family, and loved ones out-of-state or just down the street.
This extended isolation that once had no end in sight gave people little to look forward to, especially people living in retirement communities and assisted living facilities.
These places were some of the hardest hit during COVID because older populations were at a significantly higher risk of contracting the virus and dying from it .
But, now, over a year later families are slowly coming back together to make up for the lost time. At Touchmark Retirement Community they're slowly allowing visitors for its residents. Earlier this week Zona O'Neil was able to reconnect with her daughter Kelle, and grandaughter Fallon. It's been months since the trio has spent time together in person.
"As a grandmother, Fallon and I held hands probably for 24 hours straight and we just did not let go of each other," said Zona.
But as restrictions begin to lift, Touchmark Retirement Community told Idaho News 6 that strict COVID protocols are still in place.
"We still have the screening process people still need to wear their masks and we’re still gonna do stuff to make sure our residents are safe," said Dawn Kinnaman, Resident Relations Coordinator at Touchmark.