A Massachusetts nursing home resident’s family helped her celebrate her 100th birthday – even if they couldn’t honor the milestone in the same room.
Millie Erickson lives at Sterling Village, a nursing home in Sterling, Mass. She has not been able to receive visitors since the nursing home restricted in-person visitation beginning on March 12 over growing fears about the coronavirus. Michele Morin, who handles marketing and communications for Sterling Village, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Erickson’s family had initially planned a birthday party for her on Sunday at the facility that would have been open to anyone who wanted to attend.
“I enjoyed working with the Erickson family to help put this into action,” Morin says. “...Because of the new restrictions, we had to improvise.”
Instead of the party, Erickson’s family honored the lockdown and stood outside of her window to sing “Happy birthday” to her. In a sweet video of the moment, the birthday girl can be seen wearing a special hat while holding a sign saying, “Today is my 100th birthday.” Erickson is seen visibly smiling and waving from inside her room.
“The look on Millie’s face was priceless,” Morin says. “As per Sterling Village birthday protocol, she was asked what she wanted for dinner and she chose scallops. ‘Big ones. Fried.’ To wash them down, we got a doctor’s order for an 8 oz. glass of Moscato.”
With the video of Erickson’s birthday taking off on social media, Morin says that she is very aware of her newfound “fame,” with Erickson telling her that all of the fuss was “amazing.”
“Millie is now a celebrity here at Sterling Village and other residents and all the staff are enjoying watching and reading all the attention in the media,” Morin says.
Gary Erickson, Millie’s son, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that his mother was overcome with emotion over the celebration and reiterated the importance of showing your face to your loved ones, whether they’re in nursing homes or in self-isolation.
“People that are...under quarantine, maybe others can tell them that everything’s OK on the outside. It helps people though when they can visually see it,” he said. “When she visually saw us, that was a sign of relief. If you can try to make visual contact, I think it’s important, especially for the elderly.”
This story was originally published on March 18, 2020 at 10:47 a.m. ET.
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