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Family gets creative to cope with visit restrictions at assisted living facility

At 90 years old, Don and Joy Burkhardt, are blessed with a family tree of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WTHR) - At 90 years old, Don and Joy Burkhardt are blessed with a family tree of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“We’re so proud of our family. They’re all so good to us,” said Joy Burkhardt, sitting next to her husband.

The feeling is mutual for the Burkhardt family.

“The best part about them is their leadership and the example they set for all of us of what family is and how we should stick together and stay together,” said Burkhardt grandson Bobby Farmer.

That’s been more challenging these days, though, in the wake of the coronavirus.

Family can no longer visit the elderly couple where they live at Cumberland Trace Assisted Living Facility in Plainfield.

“When you talk to them on the phone, you can kind of hear the uncertainty in their voice and the sadness,” said granddaughter Heidi Brumback.

Stories like the Burkhardt’s are going on all across the state and country, as nursing homes everywhere follow federal guidance restricting visitors, hoping to keep residents safe.

“It’s difficult for everybody, but I think given what’s going on, it’s in everybody’s best interest, so safety first,” Farmer said.

But even in times of great precautions, the Burkhardt’s grandchildren found a way to let them know they’re loved and it’s going to be OK.

The couple got quite a surprise Monday morning when they looked out their window.

“They called us to come to the window and I couldn’t believe it. There were all the great-grandchildren out there waving to us,” said Joy.

All of them were standing next to a large sign.

“This huge, big sign,” said Don.

“We were just thrilled,” Joy added.

“Just something to give them a little more peace and comfort and know that we’re thinking of them,” said grandson Brandon Holmes.

That’s all families separated from their loved ones can do right now — hold on and hope for this to be over as soon as possible, so they can make more memories together.