‘You are loved’: Heartfelt messages left outside Mid-South nursing homes after coronavirus outbreak ends family visits

Heartfelt messages left outside Mid-South nursing homes

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - For the better part of two weeks, many people in assisted living facilities or nursing homes have not had face-to-face contact with their families. The COVID-19 outbreak has restricted visitors for many of the country’s most vulnerable.

Some residents in North Mississippi are getting reminders of just how much their families miss them.

For a moment Tuesday morning, the rain stopped. It’s like Mother Nature knew this needed to happen.

“The sign says, ‘you are loved’,” said Deana Riffe, owner of Sign Gypsies.

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Since the COVID-19 outbreak has kept visitors from residents at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and rehab centers, Riffe and her business brought the love to them. Riffe set up signs saying ‘You are loved" outside three assisted living and retirement communities in DeSoto County. The large signs are visible to most residents.

“(The residents are) loved by their loved ones, they’re loved by us, they’re loved by this community,” Riffe said.

Riffe and her family put up signs at Diversicare of Southaven, Olive Grove Terrace Senior Living in Olive Branch and Wesley Meadows retirement community in Hernando.

The idea came after Riffe saw her friend in pain.

“The night I left (Diversicare) knowing they were closing I just bawled the whole way home,” said Christie Winstead.

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Winstead posted on Facebook about her heartbreak of not being able to visit her mom at Diversicare. She’s worried about her mom’s mental health.

“There have been nights where I’ve come up here at 11 at night to calm anxiety,” Winstead said.

The signs are Riffe’s response to families’ concerns. Riffe’s mother also lived in an assisted living facility. so she knows personally residents rather look at the sign than the four walls of their room.

“The generation, they fought wars for us, they raised us,” Riffe said. “They need to know their families are still waiting to see them after this crisis is over.”

The signs will be up for a few days, but it’s a lasting peace of mind for families.

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