Our mother is in an assisted living facility in South Jersey. So far, so good. They have kept visitors out for the last two weeks and it hasn't been easy for anyone.

The facility she is in has a very high rating and the people there are angels. They have taken tremendous care of mom since day one, which was a little over two months ago. We lost our dad less than a year ago, and it's been tough on mom, since they were together 71 of her 89 years. She has incredible strength and spirit even in this most trying of times.

New Jersey has some 375 long-term care facilities and as of last week 43 of them had cases of COVID-19. Many of the staff at these facilities are incredible people who work in very difficult conditions without having to deal with this, and they deserve our respect and support. The pressure on them now is even greater than it normally is.

We had been visiting mom every day since she's been in there, so these last two weeks have been hard on all of us. I spoke to her Saturday and she got emotional when she told me she received a package from my son and daughter-in-law in North Carolina. She can't hear, but she reads our words on a screen on her phone. I didn't think she could tell I was crying when I heard her voice, but the damned machine evidently picks up when you're getting choked up.

So I was afraid to see what shape she was in Sunday and put off calling her until later in the day. Within half a minute, she had us laughing. Her sense of humor and resolve is something I will marvel at for the rest of my days. We thought we were calling to pick up her spirits and SHE was the one helping US through this trying time.

So, if you know someone who is in a long-term care facility, it's really important to reach out and call them if you can. You might be surprised at their courage and strength, and you just might get more out of it than you think.

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