Adele Barry said she wasn’t scared of COVID-19 after it struck Kentucky a year ago.
“I figured if I died, I died and if I didn’t, I didn’t,” said Barry, who was 95 when the virus first struck. “I’ve had a long life and I figured if it was over, it was over.”
For her, the hardest part of the yearlong COVID-19 pandemic was the isolation imposed on nursing home residents because the virus took the heaviest toll on the frail and elderly.
Barry has lived for the past several years at Nazareth Home in Louisville in the Highlands neighborhood. She grew up near Cherokee Park.
At Nazareth, she was used to regular outings and frequent visits with her children. All that stopped abruptly a year ago when COVID-19 struck.
“That was lonesome, that was very lonesome,” Barry said.
Residents accustomed to socializing, playing bingo and having meals together found themselves mostly confined to their rooms as staff worked to prevent infection.
Barry said she passed the time reading books and watching daily Mass on television at the facility affiliated with the Roman Catholic church. She stayed in touch with her family by phone or through video visits, but Barry said she’s not a fan of the latter.
“I don’t like those video visits,” Barry said. “The telephone is the way I stay in touch.”
With time, some restrictions have been lifted at Nazareth, especially after most residents including Barry were recently vaccinated against COVID-19. Residents are able to have meals together again, bingo has resumed and daily Mass is held in the chapel.
Barry said she enjoys those activities but still misses family visits and the freedom to leave Nazareth for outings.
“I like this place, but it’s too much to stay in here all the time,” she said.
In addition to resuming visits with family in the coming year, Barry said she would like to see old friends. A 1942 graduate of Sacred Heart Academy, Barry said she knows of several classmates who are still living.
“There’s not many people left that I know,” she said.
She also looks forward to warmer weather when she can get outside and sit on the front porch of the facility nestled on a wooded hillside off Newburg Road.
“I like that — I used to sit outside there all the time,” Barry said.
As for advice to others, Barry urges people to make the most of the moment: “You better take advantage of what you are doing now.”