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Hugging Window at assisted living facility bringing joy to residents

Hugging in 2020 has a new look
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 7:32 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - One woman visited her mother in a Rapid City assisted living facility for her mom’s birthday. Before leaving, she told staff that this was the first year that she wasn’t able to give her mom a birthday hug, which got the creative wheels turning for the staff at Edgewood Assisted Living. They created a Hugging Window.

“My daughter and I have hugged in it before, and we cried the first time because it was such a pleasure to get to finally touch her,” said Beverly Jahner, a resident at Edgewood Assisted Living.

As long as you are wearing a mask and gloves up to your elbows and wait for the Hugging Window to be disinfected between uses, you can hug as much as you want. Something staff said is great for residents who have been at the facility since March, except for doctor’s appointments.

“The hugging has made a huge difference in our residents,” said Shawn Hufstuller, Life Enrichment Director at Edgewood Assisted Living. “They were depressed and kind of grumpy and owly and nothing would make them happy, and then they started getting hugs from their family, and they started coming out of their shells, and we saw more smiles and they became more active, and it’s just been a really, really good thing.”

“Just being able to have your mom in your arms, just makes a world of difference, and they talk to all the other residents about how great it was,” said Marsha Pluth, Sales and Public Relations Director at Edgewood Assisted Living.

“And my granddaughter who has Down Syndrome, she even told me she loved me today,” said Jahner, of her granddaughter, Jill. “And it was so nice to be able to hear Jill say that, and to get to hug her.”

Pluth said Edgewood Assisted Living got idea from a hospice center in Idaho, and the materials were donated by community members.

Copyright 2020 KOTA. All rights reserved.

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