Brazilian Care Home Creates ‘Hug Tunnel’ so Loved Ones Can Embrace Elderly Relatives

June 23, 2020 Updated: June 24, 2020

A care home for elderly people in southern Brazil has come up with a creative way to bring some love to its residents amid the CCP virus pandemic by creating a “hug tunnel” that allows relatives to safely embrace them.

The idea emerged last month, shortly after Mother’s Day, when staff at the Três Figueiras facility in the state of Rio Grande do Sul noticed some residents were feeling down.

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

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A daughter hugs her mother at the Geriatric Clinic Três Figueiras on June 16, 2020, in Gravatai, Brazil. (Lucas Uebel/Getty Images)

The facility is home to 28 senior residents who have been in isolation since March 17, with communication with the outside world limited to video calls.

Brito told CNN the idea for the “hug tunnel” came from a viral video, where a woman in the United States created a plastic curtain in order to hug her mother.

The tunnel consists of a large plastic sheet with four arm holes in it, which is attached to one of the facility’s entrances. The arm holes are also covered in plastic and allow visitors to hold their loved ones without coming in direct contact with them.

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(Lucas Uebel/Getty Images)

Eraldo Quintana, an 81-year-old retiree living at the home, told CNN that he thought it was a great invention.

“My two daughters came to visit me and I was very happy to see them,” Quintana shared.

Quintana said it was “different to hug someone” when there is plastic between you both, but added: “If we didn’t have this we would be scared to embrace due to the coronavirus.”

To keep the “hug tunnel” safe, the visits are scheduled ahead of time and the area is disinfected every 30 minutes, the facility’s administrator Rubia Santos said in a video posted on the home’s official Facebook page.

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(Lucas Uebel/Getty Images)

She said all visitors have their temperatures checked and apply hand sanitizer before accessing the tunnel.

“If anyone out there runs a senior living home or facility, I recommend you do this,” Santos added. “It is so gratifying to see them hugging each other and so important.”

At the time of writing, 46,500 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 in the country. President Jair Bolsonaro, however, has dismissed the virus as “a little flu,” and parts of Brazil began easing lockdown measures at the start of June despite fears from some experts.

The CNN Wire contributed to the report.