A family have shared heartbreaking pictures of a great-gran before and after lockdown.

Carol Wrightson, 77, has been living in a care home for over five years after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

But her daughter Donna Wrightson believes her condition has worsened during the lockdown due to a lack of "contact, love and compassion" from Carol's beloved family.

Donna said she does not blame in Stainton Lodge Care Centre in Hemlington any way, but has called on the government to take a different approach to those with dementia.

Mum-of-four Carol she has now lost the ability to speak - so face to face contact is even more crucial.

Speaking about her mum, Donna, 47, told TeesideLive : "She has deteriorated so much.

Donna after the national lockdown

"She has dementia and alzheimers and I'm fully aware that this happens with this disease - but I believe that's its took hold quicker because of lack of contact, love and compassion from our family.

"We need to see our mam and she needs to see us.

"All my mam has to look forward to is her family and that's been taken away from us."

Donna said she has no issues with the staff at the Hemlington care home but is desperate to see her mam and explain their circumstances.

She added: "Someone somewhere needs to help us families.

Carol with her late husband and children Jamie, Debbie and Donna

"Why can't we wear PPE, have a test, take all precautions possible just like the staff in the nursing homes.

"I know care homes are just following guidelines but we need the government to take a different approach on this.

"Please don't keep us away from our loved ones we've already missed out on so much and we can't get that back.

"Is this how we protect our loved ones by locking them away?"

During the national coronavirus lockdown, Carol's children - Donna, Debbie, Terry and Jamie - weren't able to see their mother for over four months.

But as restrictions were lifted, Donna was able to go into the care home - once per week for 45 minutes - to see her beloved mam.

The no-contact visits meant she was able to sit on different sides of the room, with a screen in between them, but she was able to see her in person.

Carol with her daugher, grandchildren and great grandchildren on a family day out

Donna was permitted four visits before she was faced with the exact same situation, again.

Following a spike in coronavirus cases across Middlesbrough, the care home went back into lockdown around five-weeks-ago.

Middlesbrough Council, which runs the home, suspended visiting "to protect all residents and staff from the threat of infection."

The grandmother-of-13 has also been taken to hospital on a number of occasions during this time which has taken its toll on the family.

During one incident, Donna was able to travel by ambulance and go into hospital with her until she was moved to a permanent ward.

"Even the care home said how her face lit up when she saw me," Donna said. "When we were in the hospital she didn't let go of my hand all day."

Carol was diagnosed with pneumonia and sepsis and given IV antibiotics and oxygen.

Carol's birthday at Donna's home

She remained in James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, for six-days before returning to the care home.

Despite the great grandmother-of-16 still being unwell, Donna is still not permitted to visit the home due to a strict no visiting policy.

Before coronavirus hit, Donna said she was "constantly" with her mother.

Around five to seven days per week, Donna would visit her mam during meal times to help with feeding her.

Now, Donna can't see her mam again and has to rely on limited Facetime calls.

She said: "They are allowing Facetime but I feel awful asking all the time.

"They aren't all the time because it depends how busy the staff are."

Carol Wrightson

The family don't even have the option of going to care home windows, so Carol has a familiar face, as she is situated on the first floor.

Donna said: "I'm going to try and fight this so she can see one of us once a week.

"I've always fought for mam. I've always been there at appointments and things.

"It's not for me, it's for her."

Donna is also facing the prospect that she won't be able to bring her mam home for Christmas Day, as she would every year.

Mark Adams, South Tees joint director of Public Health, said: “This is understandably a very upsetting time for the Wrightson family and other families around Middlesbrough who are unable to visit loved ones in care homes.

“We have spoken to a member of the family in recent days to listen to their concerns and explain our position.

“Our decision in September to advise care homes to suspend visiting was taken to protect all residents and staff from the threat of infection.

"It certainly wasn't a decision we took lightly and we continue to explore ways of accommodating visits in as controlled a fashion as is possible.”