JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida woman took a job as a dishwasher at a nursing home so she could spend time with her husband who has Alzheimer's.
Mary Daniel was by her husband Steve's side daily, helping tuck him in at night and watching TV with him -- until coronavirus restrictions prohibited her from visits to his nursing home, Rosecastle at Deerwood.
"I told them, 'I'm gonna be the best dishwasher you've ever had, because I want to be here, because I need to be with him,'" she told CNN.
In March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an emergency order prohibiting visitors to nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities with certain exceptions. The order was renewed for another 60 days last week.
The couple's time apart was stressful, maybe more so on Steve Daniel. His behavior changed over that time, Mary Daniel said. He got into a fight with another resident, something he had never done.
"We have separated these folks to save them, but we have separated them and it's going to kill them. The isolation will absolutely kill them," Daniel told CBS News. "Especially dementia patients, they need interaction. They need to be touched, their brain needs to be stimulated so that they can grow instead of just really wither away."
Mary started working July 3. Steve knew it was her, even while she wore a mask.
"I walked into his room and he said my name, he said Mary, which was also a relief," she said. "So when he said, Mary, and gave me the biggest hug, I mean, we both cried."
The new job also seems to have helped Steve relax.
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