My father is 89 years old and lives in an assisted living facility about 5 miles from my house. In normal times (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) I visited my father 3 or 4 times each week. When the COVID-19 pandemic began to surge in California in March, my father’s assisted living facility followed all government guidelines in order to protect their residents – and ended all family visits. For the last 4 months I’ve had frequent phone contact with my father but I haven’t been able to see him.

Today, the assisted living facility announced the resumption of family visits – but with some new rules in place. Family members must schedule an appointment for a visit instead of just dropping by whenever they feel like it. Visitors will have their temperature taken upon arrival, and if your temperature is abnormal or if you have any symptoms of illness then you won’t be allowed in. Visits cannot exceed one hour. Visitors must wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and spend the entire visit outdoors on the facility’s courtyard. All of those new rules make perfect sense while the pandemic continues.

When I got the news today that visitation has resumed, I called immediately to schedule a visit and I spent an hour with my father this afternoon. He’s coping pretty well. He keeps himself to himself and watches a lot of TV, just like he did before the pandemic.