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A different kind of birthday for 78-year-old San Diego Navy veteran

"We cannot visit him, and he doesn't understand," said the man's daughter.

SAN DIEGO — We would like to extend a special birthday wish to George Williams, who turned 78 years old on Wednesday.

His daughter Vonnie Warrick reached out to me to share their story, knowing that I have a mother with Alzheimer's Disease, and asked if we could give her dad a "shout out."  

Two weeks ago, Vonnie said her family made the difficult decision to move their father, a Navy veteran, into a memory care facility in Escondido, due to his declining memory.  

With new coronavirus restrictions prohibiting visitors from entering senior homes, however, Vonnie had to wish her dad "Happy Birthday" this year, by holding her palm up to his, on either side of a glass window.

"We cannot visit him, and he doesn't understand," said Vonnie.

We know many families with elderly loved ones in memory care facilities are facing challenges when it comes to communicating during this difficult time. 

We know that countless families who have parents and grandparents in assisted-living and other types of senior homes are being separated right now, out of an abundance of caution to keep the older population safer. 

It still doesn't make it any easier. 

So, we hope this "Happy Birthday" wish puts a smile on Mr. Williams' face when he sees it.  

If you have a loved one experiencing memory loss or dementia, I invite you to join my private Facebook group to share information and give and/or receive support. 

You can also contact Alzheimer's San Diego for resources and support from social workers.  

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