SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Florida woman took dishwashing job so she could visit husband with Alzheimer's during pandemic

Mary Daniel visited her husband Steve every day at his Florida memory care center until they stopped allowing visitors in March because of...

Posted: Jul 12, 2020 10:47 AM

Mary Daniel visited her husband Steve every day at his Florida memory care center until they stopped allowing visitors in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The virus kept them apart for 114 days.

Daniel said the isolation took a toll on her 66-year-old husband, who has Alzheimer's. So when the facility offered her a part-time dishwashing job, she jumped at the opportunity.

"I told them, 'I'm gonna be the best dishwasher you've ever had, because I want to be here, because I need to be with him,'" she told CNN.

Before Covid-19, Daniel said she would help her husband get ready for bed each night and they would watch TV together before she tucked him in.
"That was our set routine and then all of a sudden I'm gone," she said. "And he doesn't know why. He can't understand why."

She said they've tried doing window visits, but they upset Steve. He can't carry on conversations, she said, so visiting over FaceTime didn't work well for them either.

Daniel, 57, said that getting to see her husband after she's done working is a perk, but she's scrubbing dishes, mopping floors and cleaning the kitchen just like any dishwasher.

"It is full on legit, I had to do a Covid test, a TB test, 20 hours worth of video training and a drug test," she said, adding that she was going to use her paychecks to do something nice for the rest of the staff.

She worked her first shift on July 3, and said Steve recognized her, even with her mask on.

"I walked into his room and he said my name, he said Mary, which was also a relief," she said. "So when he said, Mary, and gave me the biggest hug, I mean, we both cried."

She said her husband seems much more relaxed since she's been able to see him, and he even gave her a hug during a recent shift.

"He came up from behind me and put his arms around the front of me ... which is an incredible feeling," she said. "So, he knows who I am. There's no question, he knows who I am even in a mask."

Florida issued an emergency order in March that prohibits visits to nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care facilities, except for families and friends in end-of-life circumstances. Gov. Ron DeSantis extended the restrictions this week for another 60 days.

The state has become a hotspot, and officials on Friday reported 11,433 new Covid-19 cases and 93 deaths, according to data on the Florida Department of Health (DOH) website.

"Visitor restrictions have been put in place at communities across our state as a safety measure, aimed at protecting the vulnerable population we serve. But it has been hard on families and residents alike, so we felt creative solutions were necessary, especially in the case of Mary and Steve," said Kelley Withrow, the executive director for Rosecastle at Deerwood, in a statement.

"We are happy to report that Mary is off to a great start in her new role, and we are excited to see the positive changes in Steve's demeanor as well."

Daniel said that she understands why the rules are in place and she appreciates the hard work everyone is putting in, but she thinks there has to be a better way.

She's urged the state and Gov. DeSantis to adjust the restrictions and has started a Facebook group with other families to try to find other options.

"It's incredibly sad to see that these patients are significantly declining because they are isolated," she said. "We are isolating these patients to save them, but the isolation is killing them."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 345344

Reported Deaths: 4084
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54651678
Washington37724310
Marion35705439
Clackamas28835298
Lane26661291
Jackson22465297
Deschutes19252122
Umatilla14081139
Linn12200114
Douglas11664238
Josephine9174191
Yamhill8438108
Klamath7549106
Polk707380
Malheur542374
Benton521531
Coos481591
Columbia368143
Jefferson355650
Union309944
Lincoln306033
Wasco275839
Crook263643
Clatsop238027
Baker195628
Tillamook191926
Hood River186036
Morrow180223
Curry177019
Harney106424
Grant96512
Lake86910
Wallowa65712
Gilliam1484
Sherman1453
Wheeler941
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4802761

Reported Deaths: 70456
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147341026379
Riverside3689534978
San Diego3631694151
San Bernardino3558485562
Orange3224975513
Sacramento1574982273
Santa Clara1443001886
Fresno1437452048
Kern1437161600
Alameda1197741365
San Joaquin1016431696
Ventura1004421162
Contra Costa99102969
Stanislaus849231310
Tulare78753945
San Francisco53974644
San Mateo53781618
Monterey50676582
Solano45734334
Santa Barbara44770518
Merced41680577
Sonoma40638400
Placer38813412
Imperial35591762
Kings32197312
San Luis Obispo29590330
Madera23420281
Butte23298257
Shasta23230334
Santa Cruz20830217
Yolo20092247
Marin17570243
El Dorado16947149
Sutter13762169
Napa12797100
Yuba992780
Tehama9240103
Humboldt9085108
Nevada902590
Mendocino751686
Lassen743743
San Benito735972
Tuolumne671793
Lake6499103
Amador536763
Siskiyou442742
Glenn429930
Calaveras380279
Del Norte355739
Colusa301618
Inyo194239
Mono16285
Plumas15476
Mariposa126215
Trinity85811
Modoc6678
Sierra1710
Unassigned1480
Alpine1020
Out of CA00
Medford
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 52°
Brookings
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 49°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 52°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 52°
Klamath Falls
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 34°
Big changes later this weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events