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Brazilian nursing home creates “hug tunnel” for elderly residents during COVID-19

Três Figueiras Residencial Geriátrico
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In an effort to cheer up its seniors, the care home found the perfect idea.

Caring for the elderly is a vocation that’s been made so much harder during the pandemic. There have been some caregivers who’ve deserted their family homes to take up residency with the vulnerable elderly, and others who’ve used their imagination and hard work to try and lift spirits.

In Brazil, with the growing number of coronavirus deaths, particularly among seniors, it’s no surprise that those among the aging population are feeling low — and no doubt scared. In response to this, a nursing care home in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Três Figueiras, has embraced the situation … quite literally!

Inspired by an American woman who created a hug curtain to be able to safely have physical contact with her mom, staff at the facility created a “hug tunnel” to allow their residents to enjoy some time in closer contact with their loved ones. Decorated with hearts, the plastic tunnel provides close contact through protective arm holes so seniors and their families can embrace once more.

“We noticed that our senior residents were feeling sad,” explained Luciana Brito, a co-owner of the facility, to CNN. “We thought they would be much happier if we found a way for them to hug their relatives.”

Their efforts paid off. With scrupulous hygiene protocols in place, families have been enjoying physical contact once more and spirits have been lifted. “If anyone out there runs a senior living home or facility, I recommend you do this,” Rubia Santos, the care home’s administrator shared, adding, “It is so gratifying to see them hugging each other and so important.”

It might seem a small gesture, but it demonstrates just how important physical contact, dedicated caring professionals, and a lot of plastic can be in bringing smiles to the elderly and their families.

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