The elderly have had it extremely tough during COVID-19. Senior living facilities all across the globe have had to completely eliminate visits from loved ones. That means no hugs from their kids or grandkids which can truly have an effect on people.
The Power Of Connection
A simple hug holds a lot more healing than you think. Research has shown hugs can actually decrease stress levels and lower blood pressure. A big hug also stimulates our dopamine and serotonin levels which help balance our mood and make us feel loved and appreciated.
A No Contact World
But with the global pandemic of COVID-19, it’s made physical interaction extremely limited. We’ve been advised to socially distance for over 4 months now and this lack of connection has kept everyone in dire need of a big long hug. A senior living center in southern Brazil called Três Figueiras had noticed a huge change in their resident’s behavior.
In Need Of Change
One of the owners of the care center, Luciana Brito told CNN,
“We noticed that our senior residents were feeling sad,”
Residents were feeling especially low after Mother’s day came along and no visitors were allowed to visit. The devoted staff members were eager to lift the spirits of their residents and created something wonderful. Luciana Brito also told CNN,
“We thought they would be much happier if we found a way for them to hug their relatives.”
That’s when staff members built the brilliant ‘Hug Tunnel’! Using thick plastic sheets and tape they made armholes so visitors could hug their loved ones safely.
A Brilliant Idea
The ‘Hug Tunnel’ has been a huge hit for residents and their visitors, as they’re finally able to give their loved ones a much-needed hug. Staff members have watched residents light up with joy using the hugging machine, giving everyone something to look forward to.
Big Smiles & Even Bigger Hugs
To ensure residents and visitor’s safety, the ‘Hug Tunnel visits are scheduled ahead of time and after every 30 minutes, the tunnel is sanitized thoroughly. All visitors have to get their temperature taken and they also have to use hand sanitizer before using the nifty creation.
Keeping It Clean
Residents at Três Figueiras have been more than grateful to be able to enjoy visits once again, even if their hugging through think plastic sheets.
An 81-year-old resident named Eraldo Quintana told CNN,
“My two daughters came to visit me and I was very happy to see them,”
“If we didn’t have this we would be scared to embrace due to the coronavirus.”
During such a stressful time the ‘Hug Tunnel’ has been a game-changer for the Brazilian senior care home.
Bringing Sunshine On The Cloudy Days
This has brought a much more positive atmosphere for everyone living there and staff members are now recommending the idea to other senior living facilities. An employee named Rubia Santos said,
“If anyone out there runs a senior living home or facility, I recommend you do this,”
“It is so gratifying to see them hugging each other and so important.”
A hug is truly a powerful force. Três Figueiras knows just how important those special family visits are and the ‘Hug Tunnel’ has now made that possible again!
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