As pandemic drags on, RI Veterans Home residents say they are ‘extremely lonely’

East Bay

BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) ─ R.I. Veterans Home residents that reached out to Eyewitness News say after months of isolation due to COVID-19, they just want to be able to walk outside.

Jack Coquette recently wrote an open letter saying that he and many other residents have had enough of being confined to just their rooms.

He said many of his friends are depressed.

“They even closed the little cafe bistro they had where you can buy stuff, everything they had they took away,” Coquette said.

He said everyone understands things have to be different because of the virus, but just like stores and restaurants have slowly reopened, they also thought they would get to slowly do more.

Coquette said they don’t even get to go outside.

“When we would go outside we talk about our military time, our families, what we have done, what we wish we had done, we want to just talk, get together,” he said.

One of Coquette’s best friends is John “Big” Leonard, who also believes the isolation is too much.

“It’s not good for your health, there are a lot of people depressed in here and they keep saying I got to get out of here, I want to leave,” Leonard said.

Both men said they also can’t get food delivered, play games or see their families.

Gloria Rossiter-Masi said her 95-year-old father lives at the facility and while he receives great care there, the last few months have been very hard on him.

She said she tries to Facetime him every day to keep him company.

“I’ll say, ‘So what did you do today Dad?’ I call him daily, and he says, ‘Well kinda slept again today, there’s not a lot to do.’ It breaks my heart,” she said. “It got to the point where he was going to refuse physical therapy because he was so upset about losing everything. He said, ‘I need to get them to listen to me.'”

Eyewitness News reached out to the R.I. Veterans Home about the residents’ concerns.

A spokesperson for the facility said, While we recognize that the changes implemented at the home are challenging for some of our residents, the home has followed all Rhode Island Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines as our priority is to work diligently to keep all of the residents safe and healthy.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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