Couple of 54 years reunited as senior facility reopens to visitors
ORLANDO, Fla. - There were lots of hugs and smiles, as HarborChase of Dr. Phillips reopened to visitors on Monday.
Pat Strasberg can finally be with her husband, Ron, who has Alzheimer's. It’s the first time in six months that she has seen him inside his facility, which was closed to visitors during the coronavirus pandemic.
"When I got closer and I looked in his eyes, I said, 'It’s Patty!' He said, 'Are you the real Patty?' which I thought was adorable, and I said, 'Yes, I’m the real Patty!' and that made me feel tearful but happy."
Ron stays at HarborChase of Dr. Phillips in Memory Care, but when he saw his wife of 54 years, he remembered her right away.
"He asked me where I’d been and I said, I couldn’t come to see you because there’s a virus, but I don’t think he understood that. I just said it’s not important, I’m here now and that’s what’s important."
For the last few months, Pat took part in a letter campaign, asking state lawmakers to reopen senior living facilities. HarborChase of Dr. Phillips, Executive Director Heather Corton, watched as couples like Pat and Ron reunited.
"Oh, it was just wonderful. Brought tears to our eyes. They were dancing and singing in the lobby. It was just lovely."
She said they have a system in place to keep everyone safe.
"When people enter the area they have to wear their PPE. We’re taking their temperatures."
She believes it makes big a difference with visitors allowed back in.
"Attitudes are up, people are happy and excited. It’s wonderful."
For Pat, there’s nothing better, than being with her husband. She plans to visit as often as possible.
"It’s a strange feeling, a very emotional feeling," she said. "It puts a smile on his face and he feels a sense of comfort when I’m there because now he knows I’m the real Patty."