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'Hug wall' helps seniors at long-term care facility connect with loved ones

It's made of plexiglass with holes in which arm-length gloves are added, with food framing around it and decorations added.

VENICE, Fla — Everybody needs a hug from time to time. That's why a senior living facility in Venice is making it easier to hug your loved ones who are at the most risk for coronavirus.

Visitors haven't been allowed inside nursing homes in Florida for the past few months because of the virus.

Tuscan Gardens at Venetia Bay Senior Living is hoping its Hug Wall can change that by bringing families together for a safe embrace -- through a wall of plexiglass and heavy-duty gloves.

The wall took about two days to build, Programming Director, Alexis Raptis explained. It's made of plexiglass with holes in which arm-length gloves are added with food framing around and decoration added to give it the 'Tuscan Gardens' touch.

Visitors must make an appointment for the Hug Wall and must wear the gloves. Each appointment is 20 minutes long and the facility takes 10 minutes afterward to sanitize the wall before the next guest.

"It's important because it has been five months. They haven't had that touch, that intimate feeling of just being able to hold and hug their loved ones," Raptis said. "They've been able to Facetime each other but it's entirely different when you're actually able to put your arms around your loved ones and be able to hold them."

Raptis adds it's a waiting game now on when the state allows assisted living facilities to open back up to visitors. The Hug Wall will remain in place as long as needed. 

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