PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - COVID-19 restrictions left Cynthia Romano with no choice but to take a job at a nursing home in order to see her ailing husband.
Her husband, John, has been battling Alzheimer’s disease at Plattsburgh Rehabilitation Nursing Center in New York since 2018. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the center to restrict visitors, Cynthia wasn’t sure if she could physically see the love of her life again.
"It was horrible for me not being able to see him," she told FOX Television Stations Monday. "We were doing window visits and we were doing FaceTime."
That hopelessness led her to apply and take a job in Nov. 2020 at the nursing home, first as a kitchen employee and then as a housekeeper, so she could see her husband.
"It started because I just really missed him and I wanted to be able to see him up close and personal," she explained.
Cynthia said she now sees her husband multiple times throughout the day when she’s at work.
"I think it has made a difference to him because he still knows me," she said. "And he smiles. He’s happy that he sees me and he will at times, sometimes, he’ll give me a hug or he’ll give me a kiss on the cheek which is really something for me. I really enjoy that hug and kiss from him."
The couple will celebrate 31 years together in October. They share three children and seven grandchildren.
Cynthia offered advice to other couples going through difficult times.
"I would say just love them. Be there for them. Be very patient because it’s a trying disease," she continued.
Cynthia said she plans to continue to work at the center until her husband succumbs to the disease. After that, she plans to move to North Carolina to be closer to their family.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 million Americans are living with the disease that affects brain function and motor skills. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.