Report from ITV News Meridian's Tom Savvides
The toll of being separated from a loved one in a care home has been felt by Les Meech, who would visit her mother almost every day in her care home in Eastbourne.
The Coronavirus pandemic soon put an end to that, and she hasn't been able to see her mum Bubbles, who's 96, for more than two months.
In order to stay in touch with loved ones, some families have taken to telephone or video calls to keep in touch with their loved ones. While other care homes have installed large screens and pods or allow outdoor window visits.
But these measures are not ideal for those living with dementia, like Bubbles Gates, who is used to personal face to face contact.
Les Meech feels like she's losing her mother again by not being able to see her
With more than 800 care homes in Sussex alone, many residents and their families are feeling isolated.
Organisations are calling on the Government to set out a clear timetable for the re-introduction of personal face to face visits from loved ones in care homes.
Alzheimer’s Society have issued a stark warning that action is required urgently to combat people living with dementia ‘dying from loneliness’.
They're asking for supporters in Kent to sign a direct letter to the government as part of a new campaign which highlights the importance of visits and seeks a resolution to the issue of visitation before May.
People in Kent with dementia
Residents in Kent care homes with dementia
With the Prime Minister set to announce a 'Roadmap out of lockdown' the letter is calling for the care home visits to be a priority.
Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer’s Society, said "Action must be swift to avoid further tragedy. All staff must swiftly be vaccinated, and testing, PPE and infection control measures used to enable safe visits – with a clear timeline for family carer vaccinations, what more is needed?".
The Government announced that as of Sunday the 14th of February all care home residents and staff, health and social care workers had been offered a vaccine.
However the Alzheimer's Society say that family carers are also part an integral part of the care system and when removed, the essential care and wellbeing of the individual suffers.
A family carer may be the only person allowed to brush their loved ones’ teeth when no-one else can get near, the only one who can get them to take medicine, to eat or drink. They act as both their voice and memory, articulating on their behalf and offering support like no one else can
Healthwatch East Sussex, which allows people to comment on the NHS and social care systems, is also backing the campaign.
They are going to host an online webinar on the 24th of February on he impact of long-term restricted visiting/separation from loved ones in care homes. Relatives or carers of loved ones in car homes are being invited to join.