Elderly Tamworth sisters reunited on FaceTime after years of separation thanks to nursing home staff

TOGETHER AT LAST: Uniting McKay House resident Betty Burgess reunited with her sister Conny (pictured on the screen) on FaceTime. Photo: Supplied
TOGETHER AT LAST: Uniting McKay House resident Betty Burgess reunited with her sister Conny (pictured on the screen) on FaceTime. Photo: Supplied

A TWIST of fate has brought two long-lost elderly sisters together, in the middle of a pandemic.

Betty Burgess and her sister Conny are both aged in their 90s and have finally had an emotional reunion, after years of separation.

The pair reside at two different nursing homes in the Tamworth area in north eastern NSW, and a conversation between staff members at the different facilities led to them to connect the dots about the sisters.

The two local aged care facilities worked together to get Conny and Betty back in touch, using an iPad and FaceTime, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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Betty lives at Uniting McKay House, and the service's lifestyle coordinator Sally Abra said she is a changed woman after reconnecting with her sister.

"First of all we explained what was happening and said there's someone on the iPad who wants to see you," Ms Abra said.

"She looked at the screen and thought it was a photo of her sister Conny, but we told her she can see you too.

"When it twigged a few seconds later, she grabbed the iPad out of our hands and she put it right up to her cheek like she was hugging her sister or a photo and we all just lost it."

The sisters are only about 15 months apart in age and used to run a property on the outskirts of Tamworth together, in years gone by. They couldn't remember the last time they saw each other.

REUNITED: The sisters discovered they could see and hear each other using FaceTime on iPads, thanks to nursing home staff. Photo: Supplied

REUNITED: The sisters discovered they could see and hear each other using FaceTime on iPads, thanks to nursing home staff. Photo: Supplied

"They immediately were crying and it was an emotional time for them and they were reminiscing ... talking about things from years and years ago, it was extremely emotional," Ms Abra said.

"There were tears shed, but also lots of giggles and memories and it was like they'd seen each other just the other day, they picked up where they left off.

"Betty has been so much more relaxed since then and talking about when she can see her sister again."

COVID-19 restrictions have been isolating for many, and Ms Abra said the reconnection came at a good time for the pair.

"Betty and Conny can reassure each other and be there for each other," she said.

The two nursing homes are working together so Conny and Betty can catch up virtually on a regular basis - something both sisters said they'd love. But, that could change once restrictions lift.

"It would be so wonderful if they could meet [in person] one day, that's a long term plan," Ms Abra said.

She said the staff were thrilled they could bring the sisters back into contact.

"The day [Betty and Conny virtually reunited] was one of the highlights of my whole aged care career, it was just phenomenal," she said.

This story Heartfelt moment for two sisters reunited after twist of fate first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.