Woman creates hug tunnel at Colo. senior living community

WINSDOR, Colo. (KUSA) - As many people go without hugging their loved ones during the pandemic, a career nurse practitioner has come up with an idea to help.

Peggy Budai made her own hug tunnel.

“Came up with this idea,” Budai said. “To figure out a material that was see-through enough but could be sturdy and could be cleaned.”

It’s an effort to give residents at retirement homes and senior living communities something that the pandemic took away.

“My mom lived in the nursing home for quite a while, and I can’t imagine not giving her a hug,” Budai said.

Delaine Holdeman doesn’t have to imagine, that has been her struggle throughout the pandemic. She hasn’t hugged her mother in more than 250 days.

“I have not been with her physically so we could hug or anything like that since early March,” Holderman said. “I think it’s potentially going to be emotional for a lot of us.”

The hug tunnel is disinfected between each use in a process Budai got approved by the state.

“Because it was so important for the safety aspect, that we didn’t just assume it would be safe,” Budai said.

It’s a process she wants everyone to copy.

“I decided to take on the endeavor of writing a manual so that people didn’t have to recreate it, figuring it all out on their own,” she said.

Budai wants to guarantee that people like Holderman can have the opportunity to hug their loved ones on a cold day.

“Because those relationships are so important; to be able to allow people to touch each other, even if it’s through plastic,” she said.

Budai says she is working with the Colorado Healthcare Ethics Resource Group to share the hug tunnel with senior living communities around the state.

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