The heartbreaking moment a pensioner with dementia breaks down because she can't hug her daughter

Emily Cleary
·3-min read

A “heartbroken” daughter has published footage of her mum crying after being told they cannot hug in an effort to highlight the “unhealthy” rules about care home visits due to coronavirus.

Dementia sufferer Doreen Morris, 85, can be seen with a huge smile on her face after spotting her daughter, Tracy Gothard, 51, at the window of her nursing home.

The great-great-grandmother then asks Gothard to "come in" and motions with her hands, to which her daughter replies: "I can't come in, we're not allowed yet because of that nasty bug".

Gothard asks her mum to "blow her a kiss" but the pensioner instead breaks down in tears.

The mum-of-two described the moment as "heartbreaking" and said she has released the video in order to try and change the "unhealthy" rules around care home visits.

Tracy Gothard with mum Doreen Morris before the coronavirus pandemic halted visits to her care home (Tracy Gothard/swns)
Tracy Gothard said her mum Doreen is "like a prisoner in her own home" (Tracy Gothard/swns)

She said: "When my mum comes out she just wants to hug me and put her arms around me, and I want to do the same.

"Because of her dementia she doesn't understand why we can't, which is what you can see in the video - she wants me to go inside.

"It's heartbreaking to see her react like that, I feel exactly the same as her as well, I want to go in and give her a cuddle."

Gothard captured the clip outside Bierley Court Care Home in Bradford, West Yorks., on 29 October.

She added: "My mum had a life before all this, she would go out all the time, she would dance, see family and have a good time, now all that is gone.

Tracy Gothard with mum Doreen Morris before the coronavirus pandemic halted visits to her care home (Tracy Gothard/swns)
Tracy Gothard with mum Doreen Morris before the coronavirus pandemic halted visits to her care home (Tracy Gothard/swns)

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"She's like a prisoner in her own home."

The family want the rules changed so that at least one family member can be tested for the virus, who would then be permitted entry to the home.

Gothard said: "I want to be able to go in to my mum's home and show her that I haven't forgotten about her, that I still love her.

“We need to start seeing our elderly people again one way or another. If workers at these care homes can have a test then enter, then I don't see why I can't too.

"I understand safety is paramount but we need to strike a balance at the same time. My mum is deteriorating quickly, she's very depressed and anxious over what's going on, although she doesn't fully understand why."

Gothard said she initially shot the video to send to family so they could see her mum, but decided to share it publicly after seeing her mum's reaction.

The window meeting between the mother and daughter was their first since August, when Bradford was placed under tier three restrictions.

Gothard, who works in customer service for Yorkshire Water, said pre-COVID she would visit her mum every day.

Watch: These are the exceptions for going outside during England's second national lockdown

Retired cleaner Doreen, diagnosed with dementia around 12 years ago, has seven grandchildren,18 great grandchildren and six great great grandchildren.

After the first lockdown the family were allowed garden visits but between August and 29 October Gothard has only been able to see Doreen from the car park of the care home and in video calls.

She said: "We now face another lockdown so who knows when we will be able to see each other properly again.

"Something needs to change."

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