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Wife of 59 years shares personal journey to see her husband in long-term care

'Isolation kills on both ends,' Beatrice Cohen says
Marvin Cohen and Beatrice Cohen
Posted at 6:57 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 19:09:08-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Beatrice Cohen describes the last six months as a nightmare. She's one of many in South Florida who couldn't see loved ones living in long-term care facilities, until now.

For months, Cohen spent many nights inside her Delray Beach home in front of the computer restless.

RELATED: Families relieved state lifting restrictions on visits to long-term care facilities

"I wrote Gov. (Ron) DeSantis and said, 'You want my vote, hear my voice," Cohen said. "I even threatened to cut my hair if that was what I needed to do to see my husband."

At one point, she wrote the governor and other elected officials twice a week.

"I did it because I felt I couldn't just complain without taking action," she said. "Isolation kills on both ends."

All this for her husband of 59 years, Marvin, who is a patient at Heartland Health Care Center in Boynton Beach.

He was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, which doctors say causes dementia. Beatrice said the restrictions put in place to protect him created an experience that destroyed her.

Beatrice Cohen
Beatrice Cohen of Delray Beach, Florida, wrote multiple letters to Gov. Ron DeSantis and other lawmakers, making a plea to allow visits and long-term care facilities.

"Through a glass window, I could not hear what he was saying. He could not hear what I was saying. He just was staring at me. I had no idea what he was thinking, and it just broke my heart," Cohen said.

WPTV went along on Wednesday to watch the reunion between the couple.

Now, with authorized visits reinstated by the governor, Cohen said she will be back to visit her husband every day. And she encourages others to take steps to protect their loved one's mental state.

"I mean you're a partner, and this is what a partnership is all about," she said.

All visitors will be screened at facilities. There can be no more than two visitors at any time and no more than five people a day. Minors aren't allowed, and facilities can only have visitors if they have gone 14 days without any cases.