If your loved one lives in a memory care unit or assisted living facility, you probably understand how hard it’s been during COVID-19. Many of the residents within these facilities haven’t been able to share the joy of a warm hug in over a year. Though outdoor visits, spaced six feet apart, are common, most facilities enforce a strict no-touching policy during these times. However, one group of individuals in Colorado has been making it possible to hug your loved ones.
This group sets up “Hug Tunnels” throughout the area at different facilities. With the help of facility staff and a team of volunteers, “Hug Tunnels” bring joy to the residents as well as their family members. Loved ones can hug and hold hands once again, even if there’s a plastic, sanitized sheet between them.
Until “normal” human connection exists again, the "Hug Tunnel" group plans to continue these events. As the pandemic continues, residents and family members crave interaction more and more. The "Hug Tunnel" provides this connection without the fear of spreading COVID to one another.
To prevent the spread of COVID, the leader of this group has extensively researched safe methods for the events. First, the group of volunteers arrives at the facility about an hour before the event starts to set up. During this hour, the group sanitizes and sets up the booth, which consists of a plastic sheet with plastic arm slots at arm height. When participants arrive, they first sign in so that the group can track who was present. After they hug their loved ones through the tunnel, the group then sanitizes both sides of the sheet as well as the slots, leaving the sanitizing spray on the sheet for the appropriate time before removing.
This event has been highly successful at different communities both in Colorado and around the country, with beautiful moments between parents and their adult children. If you’d like to set up your own “Hug Tunnel” event, the organizers have created a guide to easily direct you through the process.
Your team at Senior Helpers proudly supports these “Hug Tunnels” by participating in organization as well as volunteering at several “Hug Tunnel” events. If you’d like to learn more about “Hug Tunnel” events and how to host your own, visit the Facebook Page, The Hug Tunnel.