Since the coronavirus outbreak, nursing homes and assisted living facilites across the country have enforced more aggressive restrictions on visitors. Some have cut back on visiting hours and others have banned loved ones from entering altogether to keep seniors safe.
"Atria Guilderland" is no different. 80-year-old Lauren Barber lives in the memory care center of the Atria in upstate New York, but since she moved in about one year ago, she's rarely alone.
Lauren's husband, 85-year-old Robert Barber visits his wife every day, and though she has Alzheimer's, she never seems to forget him.
But now, the couple is facing a new hurdle. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Lauren is in strict isolation with other patients in the facility, so her husband had to get creative.
Robert now visits his wife through her window at the facility, and his dedication is capturing hearts all over the world.
Robert and Lauren's granddaughter, Alicia Barber captured this touching video and posted it to her "Tik Tok" page. She says she was surprised when the moment garnered over 4 million views.
"It’s crazy that so many people have seen the video and been so moved by my grandparents love and the circumstances that they’ve been faced with," Alicia told CBS12 News.
Alicia says she was happy to share the moment online since her grandparents love has always inspired her.
"It's been great, my whole entire life to view how strong their love has been and this family they created together," she said "The memory loss has impacted the rest of our family... in her mind, we're pretty much not there. But he still is... it’s so special to me that she still has that piece of her heart left for my grandfather."
Alicia says she hopes the video will inspire people to do their part and stay inside during the epidemic.
"This is just a reminder to everyone young and old that we really need to be staying inside and following the guidelines of social distancing if not for yourself, then for my grandparents and those more vulnerable to the virus," she said.
But Alicia is trying to make an impact in other ways also. A PhD student at Dartmouth, Alicia is now studying Alzheimer's herself, so that hopefully one day, couples like Robert and Lauren will never endure another painful separation like this one.
"Alzheimer's is really this soul gripping disease that rips away at who you are... it's just really shown me how cruel of a disease it is, so I want to work on the science aspect of this and hopefully one day, we'll be able to cure it."