By Jack Healy, Danielle Ivory and Serge F. Kovaleski
Oct. 30, 2020
KIRKLAND, Wash. — After months of near-isolation inside his senior care facility, Charlie no longer recognizes his wife of almost 50 years. In another nursing home, Susan’s toenails grew so long that she could not squeeze into her shoes. Ida lost 37 pounds and stopped speaking. Minnie cried and asked God to just take her.
They are among thousands of older people stricken by another epidemic ravaging America’s nursing homes — an outbreak of loneliness, depression and atrophy fueled by the very lockdowns that were imposed to protect them from the coronavirus.
“A slow killer,” said Esther Sarachene, who said she watched her 82-year-old mother, Ida Pasik, wither and fall mute during the months she was confined to her nursing home room in Maryland. “She didn’t know who I was.”