"Mom is really different": Nursing homes reopen to joy and grief

But sitting several feet apart in a common area, where they were not allowed to hug, Ms. James was also startled at how frail her mother looked. She seemed to grow tired after just 15 minutes. “I thought I would be so happy,” Ms. James said. “And I just feel such grief because of the year of time I have lost and I will never get back.”…

Dr. Boss said the experience of families coming back together a year into the pandemic reminded her of research she had done on husbands returning home to wives after war, or cancer patients who suddenly learn they are in remission. “Things don’t quite get back to normal,” she said…

As a geriatrician in San Francisco, Dr. Teresa Palmer, 68, was well positioned to advocate for her 103-year-old mother, Berenice De Luca Palmer, after federal officials recommended last March that nursing homes shut down to visitors. Dr. Palmer did local news interviews, checked on her mother often over Zoom and even accompanied her to occasional doctor’s appointments.

But when Dr. Palmer finally walked into her mother’s room this month, she was shocked to find that her mother, who had shrunk to 98 pounds, was spending all of her time in bed.