When Elisa Severino held her great-granddaughter for the first time, it was an emotional and special moment for four generations of women in the family.
- Elisa Severino was born in 1920 and celebrated her 100th birthday in April
- Her great-granddaughter Madeleine was born more than a century later
- Despite coronavirus restrictions, the two were able to meet at an Adelaide aged care facility
The aged care resident, who has dementia, turned 100 years old in April — a milestone she marked at an Adelaide aged care facility, during the early days of Australia’s coronavirus lockdowns.
Daughter Tess Di Francesco said her mother had brought great joy to her family and friends in her century of living, and always wanted to receive a letter from the Queen on her 100th birthday.
“[She was] strong willed to survive the Second World War, the famine and the depression,” she said.
“She came to Australia for a better life and she was very staunch.
The birthday had to be celebrated behind a window because of COVID-19 restrictions, which only allowed one visitor at a time.
Tess Di Francesco was on the same side of the window as her mother, and said despite the physical distancing, it was still an occasion to be treasured.
“It was difficult, but at least there was some way that they [extended family] could be with her on the day,” she said.
“My sister’s three children came with their partners and their children as well, and my three girls and their partners and children.”
Mrs Di Francesco’s daughter Lisa — who is named after her grandmother Elisa Severino — was seven months pregnant at that time.
Lisa said it was important to her that her grandmother be able to meet her baby girl.
“Because of COVID we were not sure it would be possible,” she said.
When Elisa Severino’s great-granddaughter Madeleine was born two months later at North Eastern Community Hospital’s maternity ward — next door to its aged care facility — the staff found a way to bring them together.
“I am so thankful to the hospital that they were able to meet,” Lisa said.
‘It was very heartwarming’
Lisa is very close with her grandmother and said the moment the centenarian held her family’s newest arrival was “something that I’ll never forget”.
“I am one of six grandchildren and we would always go to [my grandmother’s] house and she would always give us sweets,” she said.
“We are thankful that she is still with us, and lucky she has seven great-grandchildren.”
Despite visitors to the maternity ward limited to two per day, the meeting was possible because the residential care facility and the maternity ward are located at the same complex.
The hospital maternity ward’s clinical manager Emily Judd said the restrictions have been tough for all families.
“The residents had milestones that they reached and visiting was restricted over there,” Ms Judd said.
“They were waving at people through glass windows and we were doing the same with our new babies here and holding them up to the glass.”
Ms Judd said while it was nice to be able to help Elisa Severino’s family, the occasion also brought a smile to the faces of staff members.
“This is a beautiful story, having everyone here,” she said.