Nursing Home Heritage Woods of Rockford opens their door to all visitors

Now that the state has moved to phase 5, these facilities have loosened their restrictions.
Published: Jun. 11, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 6:23 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - During the COVID-19 pandemic, families weren’t able to visit their loved ones in nursing homes. Now that the state has moved to phase 5, these facilities have loosened their restrictions.

Heritage Woods of Rockford has opened its doors to all visitors who are looking to spend time with a resident in the facility. Visitors are still required to wear a mask and must fill out a completion form. Toni Piamonte said she’s excited to finally be with her mother again.

She explained having in-person interaction is a great way to brighten her mother’s mood.

“She’s made some really nice friends here now,” Piamonte said. “When she first moved here, she couldn’t see people at all and now that they’re actually coming down to dinning and she can eat with people again and meet people, she loves it now.”

Piamonte said her mother moved into the facility in the middle of the pandemic, making it even harder for her to adjust.

“It was very difficult for her to move here, not knowing anyone, we couldn’t come in, help her,” Piamonte said. “We couldn’t introduce her to people because they were in total lockdown at the time when we moved in.”

Administrator Rachael Brooks credits the COVID-19 vaccine with restoring hope within Heritage Woods’ walls. She said the pandemic’s peak brought loneliness, depression, and anxiety. She also gives kudos to staff members who tried to boost everyone’s spirits. Sometimes they wore funny costumes and hats and also helped residents maneuver the trickiness of new technology.

“They have joy again, they have happiness again, they have the thrill to live and to live fully and to their fullest extent,” Brooks said.

Steve Schoepfer thanks Heritage Woods and the staff for handling the transition so well.

“I don’t really think my mom would have made it as long as she has,” Schoepfer said. " She’s 97 and she calls this her home, she loves this place.”

Residents can now mingle with other who live in the building and enjoy all kinds of activities. The facilities administrator said it’s good for them to be social again.

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