Chambersburg couple of 69 years continues visits through ‘window therapy’

Local

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Nursing homes across the country are locked down, temporarily
banning outside visitors to prevent a potential outbreak among vulnerable populations.

ManorCare Health Services-Chambersburg is following suit, but recently found a window of opportunity to show their patients they’re not forgotten.

Ken and Dawny Stouffer have been together for nearly 70 years. They’ve seen it all together — kids, grand kids, great-grand kids, tragedy and triumph.

“She still cheers up when I come in,” Ken Stouffer said.

Stouffer comes in a lot. Before coronavirus, he visited his wife almost every day. 

“I might miss 15 days a year, maybe. If it snows, then I won’t go out,” Ken said.

Now she can’t go out. He can’t go in. The separation is hard, but they’re tough.

“We have never been away more than two or three days,” Ken said.

Ken does most of the talking these days. Two and half years ago, Dawny was diagnosed with dementia. 

“She got so bad that she would get out. We had to have alarms on all of the doors,” Ken said.

“You behaving for the girls,” he asked her through the window on Wednesday.

Ken is okay with his wife’s recent silence. He’s patient and romantic.

“I miss coming in to see you every day,” he told her.

He also still sees her as that 18-year-old he married 69 years ago. 

“You’re looking really good today. [They] must be taking good care of you,” Ken said.

Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but for now, windows are the gateway to the heart. 

“You want to wave goodbye? I’ll see you later,” Ken told her as he was leaving Wednesday.

What’s the secret for a lifetime of see-you-laters?

“We always agreed on everything or we didn’t do it,” Stouffer said.

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