Health Team

Knightdale matriarch, 104, recovering from COVID-19

Posted June 18, 2020 6:37 a.m. EDT
Updated June 18, 2020 6:38 a.m. EDT

— Residents of senior care nursing centers have been among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, which makes the survival of 104-year-old Florence Snelling all the more miraculous.

Snelling is the matriarch of a five-generation Knightdale family, and her recent recovery means she can continue making memories with great-granddaughter Alyssa Murray and her two young children.

"They know her. They love her. They love being around her," Murray said.

After a fall injury eight years ago, Snelling entered Wellington Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Knightdale.

Maureen Stacek, Snelling's daughter, said her mother was content there.

"She's watching TV. She's looking at her magazines. She's paying attention to who's coming and going. She sings with the nurses," she said.

Then, about a month ago, Snelling stopped singing. Her appetite waned. She tested positive for COVID-19.

"It was scary," Stacek said.

Wellington Rehabilitation was on lock down to control the spread of the virus. Stacek's daily visits could only be done through a window, and she refused.

"She's not going to understand why I'm on the other side of the window and can't come in and hold her hand and talk to her and touch her. It would confuse her," Stacek said.

Even though her mom had to do without the medicine of touch, Stacek stayed positive.

"I said, 'I don't think this is going to take her,' because she's always been a fighter, a very strong, strong woman," Stacek said.

Florence Snelling beat COVID-19.

"I don't know who the oldest is that have had it and survived, but she's up there," said granddaughter Paula Knapp. "She's definitely up there."

Now the family waits for the lockdown to lift so they can visit the woman known as Nana Flo.

"Just to be able to hug her and know she's OK," Knapp said. Stacek, too, wants the comfort of touch.

Snelling's family credits Wellington Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Knightdale for their excellent care during what continues to be a difficult time for residents, families and staff members.

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