Sam Reck of Florida donned full personal protective equipment to say goodbye to his wife JoAnn, after she was moved into a nursing facility for treatment of dementia at the age of 86.
"They spent every day with each other," JoAnn's son, Scott Hooper told Fox 13. "Sam would go to her room each morning and would stay with her all day. Each night he would kiss her goodnight."
After the coronavirus pandemic hit, the couple was reportedly separated after Florida banned visitors at nursing homes.
"This was devastating for her," Hooper added. "Her dementia spiraled out of control. She had good and bad days or good and bad weeks."
The family later installed a device in her room so that she could still speak with Sam on video chats and went so far as to record videos for her, that she could watch when she was alone.
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"It helped but she had this thing about packing things up to go home, and that included Alexa," Hooper explained. "Doesn't work very well unplugged."
He added, "I had hoped when my mom was having problems, they could play [the videos] for her. That worked very well." .
JoAnn began feeling ill last Wednesday and registered a temperature of 102 degrees. She was then tested for COVID-19 and came up positive.
"I told Sam, as a 90-year-old man he should not go into my mom's room," Hooper said. "At first he agreed but later said he had to go, whatever the results."
"Hi honey, hi darling," Sam said to her, Fox 13 reported. "You don't recognize me with all this junk on my face, but it is Sam. I love you, sweetheart, I love you so much… I'm finally getting to hold your hand after all these months."
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JoAnn passed away the following day.
"What has grabbed everyone's attention is the loving story between my mom and my stepfather," Hooper continued. "But I would love for people to understand the struggles people with dementia are going through during COVID. It's a situation worse than death."