As nursing home residents around the world continue to isolate due to the pandemic, hugs have become an unobtainable luxury. At Heartis Clear Lake, an assisted living facility outside of Houston, director Becky Hudson recalled, "In March, when things shut down, one of my residents told me the only thing she missed was human touch. When she said that, I put my gloves on and held her hands and she was just crying. That's when I started thinking of ways for our seniors to be able to hug their loved ones without risking their lives." In September, Hudson shared an idea with local Boy Scout Troop 848 in hopes they could help: to build a booth with gloves that would allow people to hug and hold hands without skin-to-skin contact. Right away, McCain Penrod, 17, signed up to take it on. For almost a month, he, his dad, fellow Boy Scouts and friends worked on three wooden "hug booths." Each booth has a plexiglass window and two large sanitized gloves that elders can use to hug friends and family. And they made all the difference. "I immediately saw an enormous difference," Hudson observed. "Some residents who were normally active had become withdrawn when they stopped seeing their family members. Most of our residents have dementia, and they were just confused why their children stopped coming to see them. They declined emotionally, but the hug booths came in and they could finally see them and hold their hands, and now they're finally doing activities again, they want to come down for their meals."

Read Full Story