FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – Nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the Miami Valley are getting ready for the first Thanksgiving since COVID-19 restrictions lifted.

Things are mostly back to routine at Wickshire Fairborn Assisted Living. Residents can meet for activities, like the game of bowling they were found playing Wednesday afternoon, or get a visit from loved ones on Thanksgiving.

“My one daughter will be here, and maybe her husband, and they will eat with me,” resident Mary Evelyn Fueger said.

Since most COVID-19 restrictions for nursing home and assisted living facilities lifted in June, residents at Wickshire Fairborn will be able to leave to have dinner with family, or have up to 10 guests in their apartments for Thanksgiving.

Visitors to Wickshire Fairborn will have to go through a COVID-19 screening at the desk, must wear a mask inside and are encouraged to social distance.

“It just warms my heart to be able to see this happen this year,” Wickshire Fairborn executive director Aimee Baker said.

Baker said the pandemic has been tough on residents and staff, both emotionally and mentally.

“You know, we went through a really tough time,” Baker said. “A lot of window visits, and you had to schedule visits and you had to be monitored and we had to sanitize.”

This year, though, Baker said they can give thanks that they made through the challenges of the pandemic.

“You try to forget about it and just move on, but we made it through, we wore each others’ hats and we came together as a family, and that’s what makes it worth it,” Baker said.

The residents said they’re happy that they can once again gather with family and friends.

“Just sit here and enjoy with the other ladies, we have a good time,” resident Chris Watters said.

“It’s great, it will be great,” Fueger said.”

For residents who don’t have family to visit, Wickshire is preparing everyone a full Thanksgiving dinner.

Villa Springfield Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Springfield is also open to visitors and allowing residents to go out with family for Thanksgiving.

“It’s a much lighter feeling for sure,” marking director Michele Hemphill said about the difference between this year and last year.

Visitors to Villa Springfield will be required to check in at the front desk and wear a mask during their visit.