Separated by Covid, ArchCare’s Ferncliff Reunited Them a Year After Birth of First Grandchild

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Father’s Day came early for Patrick Gorman of ArchCare at Ferncliff Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Rhinebeck.

You might say it was a “Wellcome” family reunion.

Gorman, who is 60, met his 1-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte Paige Wellcome, for the first time in person May 22 when she visited him from Boston, accompanied by her parents, Gorman’s only daughter, Kaitlyn Wellcome, 34, and her husband, Nicholas.

The trip, originally scheduled for March 2020, had been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“She’s a cute little girl,” Gorman told CNY in a phone interview. “We waited a whole year because of the virus.” Charlie, as she is affectionately known, did a lot of playful running during her visit. “She explores the world,” her grandfather said. “She just likes to go and check things out and plays with whoever she’s got in front of her. She’s not shy.” 

Despite being separated from his family by the global coronavirus pandemic, ArchCare’s Ferncliff helped Gorman keep in touch with his loved ones through video communication. He was able to track Charlie’s first year and observe how the child has developed into her own little person.

Gorman, who has Parkinson’s disease, is grateful for the care he receives at Archcare’s Ferncliff, where he has resided since 2018. “You have people that are there for you, and that you can talk to.” A Catholic, he said he appreciates visits from the priest chaplain.

Mrs. Wellcome is equally grateful for those at ArchCare who are entrusted to care for her father, including hosting the in-person reunion. “I cannot say enough nice things about Ferncliff,” she told CNY over the phone. “They’re such a blessing. You don’t end up in a nursing home because things are going well in your life. 

“My father’s young; he’s already been there for a few years. He has gotten more autonomy, more connectedness and more support being at Ferncliff than he did living on his own.” And to his daughter, he seems happier. “He’s getting a fuller life there than he was living at home.”

She had not seen her father since her baby shower in New York in October 2019, although they “video chat” on a regular basis. “It felt very familiar, bringing her up to him,” she added of introducing Charlie in person last month.

“He looked proud of her,” she said. “As a parent, that’s such a fulfilling experience, to see your parents beam pride at this person who is your world.”

Mrs. Wellcome plans to explain to her daughter Charlie one day that this past year was “the year that showed the world what really mattered.” Her own experience of the pandemic, she said, “has been just a physical, visceral example of how what I do affects other people, and I can work in big and small ways to take care of my neighbor. That’s what I hope I can tell her, that you were born at the cusp of that change.”

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