Man with Disability Visits Mom’s Nursing Home Despite Coronavirus Restrictions

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An Iowa man with a mental disability is determined to see his mother at her nursing home despite the coronavirus, even if it is through a glass window.

“He’s not worried about shopping for toilet paper,” Karla Gindling, 51, said of Gary Laubenthal, her cousin, according to the Des Moines Register. “He’s going to see his mom, and the coronavirus is not stopping him. He found a way around that.”

While other Iowans are packing the grocery stores to stock up on food and toilet paper over uncertainty about the coronavirus, Gary travels across town to see his mother, 89-year-old Margeurite Laubenthal, even if it is only from the outside.

Like many residential facilities, Margeurite’s nursing home had been placed on lockdown, meaning no outside visitors would be allowed to visit the facility.

Even though he is not allowed inside, Gary, 49, and his caretaker make sure his mother and son get to share some quality time together — even if it is behind a windowpane.

“He’s all bundled up in his parka and there is just a huge smile on each of their faces,” Gindling said. “These two are delighted to see each other and the daily visits are going to continue until the ban is lifted.”

Because of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday that she has banned gatherings of more than ten people. She had also put a limit on dine-in restaurants, closed casinos, shut down theaters, and shuttered bars.

The state of emergency will last until March 31. Iowa joins a growing list of states such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio, and others in enacting similar bans.


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