Seniors in assisted living facilities left lonely and bored during pandemic

For many of California's approximately 9 million senior citizens, the so-called golden years have been anything but golden recently.

It's uniquely difficult for those living in senior care facilities.

"We can't leave the home. Can't have visitors. It's kind of a lonesome place at the moment," says 90-year-old Dick Johnston. 

Johnston spoke with us by phone from a senior care facility in San Francisco. He is a retired attorney. Mary, his wife of 67 years died last October.

Precautions against the coronavirus has kept him indoors and away from others.

"I have a breakfast table, which includes three other widowers. We'd sit around and talk. I miss that," he said.

He also misses seeing his daughter and his grandsons. One of them had a birthday celebration last weekend.

"They had a big party for him. And I would have been there. They are the only family I have left. It's hard to get along without them."

His daughter says she misses seeing him and worries about him.

"At a time like this you want your loved ones. We'd love to have him around to be able to lay eyes on him," said Carolyn Johnston. 

Johnston made it clear he has no complaints with how the facility is caring for him under difficult circumstances. But his life is very different now.

"The dining room is closed. The gym is closed. Not a lot to do."

He misses his long daily walks.

"I like to visit the statue at Fort Mason, sit down in front of the statue, look around and enjoy myself. Then take the bus back," he said.

Johnston says living to age 90 means learning to make adjustments, but he says he can't wait for this crisis to pass and get back to his normal life.

"I got to know Muni pretty well. Now I can only watch the buses go by. And wish I were on them," he said.