Pandemic precautions can't keep elderly Summerland couple apart - InfoNews

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Pandemic precautions can't keep elderly Summerland couple apart

Summerland resident Richard Norris visits his wife Kathleen on a daily basis at the Dr. Andrew Pavillion care facility in Summerland.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED
April 01, 2020 - 7:30 AM

An elderly Summerland couple is showing the world what it’s really all about in a world turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Megan Thomas posted a photo of her grandfather and grandmother, Richard and Kathleen Norris, meeting over lunch at the Summerland Extended Care Unit recently.

The two didn’t let COVID-19 barriers stop them from maintaining their loving connection in a tradition that’s been ongoing since Kathleen, 93, became a resident in the Dr. Andrew Pavillion in Summerland a year and a half ago.

“Her room is right by the window on the main floor. We decorated a bush by the window to let her know we are thinking about her, and grandpa is there every day,” Thomas says.

“He brings his lunch and a little white board and that’s how they communicate. It’s pretty sweet to see,” she says. “It’s a beautiful photo.”

The two are in their 73rd year of marriage. Richard, a former carpenter, still lives on his own, at age 94.

“He’s an incredible man. He’s been making the daily routine since she’s been there and hasn’t stopped in the past two weeks since full restrictions were placed on the facility around March 17,” Thomas says.

“The care providers are doing a wonderful job keeping everyone’s spirits up, especially when you’re kind of isolated already when you’re in that situation,” she says of her grandmother’s care.

“They had six kids together, and now have 13 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren,” Thomas says.

She says she put the photo out there to point out to people the need to practice social distancing and self-isolation at this time.

“Even if you’re healthy, you can get it and pass it on, and someone else may die,” she says.

“There needs to be a collective awakening. It’s not about you. I would hate for this to be the thing that makes my grandma sick and me not being able to say goodbye to her,” Thomas says.

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