Belgian care home residents embrace again thanks to plastic curtain

Peruwelz, Belgium, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- The residents of a center for older people in the Belgian town of Peruwelz are able to embrace family members again for the first time in months thanks to the installation of a plastic curtain in the garden.

The initiative seeks to bring back a physical closeness between residents, family members and even staff months after contact was limited as a safety measure to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“I saw my children from two meters away, even though I really wanted to hug them. We had to be patient,” Lili Hendriekse, an 83-year-old resident tells Efe.

In fact, Hendriekse was the first to put the curtain to use when it was put in place in mid-June. She was finally able to embrace her daughter.

“I cried. It was very emotional.”

The curtain is equipped with plastic sleeves so people can hug while drastically minimizing the risk of spreading Covid-19, which has hit care homes across Europe particularly hard.

The care center’s director Marie-Christine Desoer said she got the idea to install the curtain after she saw it being done in another care home in a video shown to her by her friend.

“Not knowing how long this is going to last for, we had to find a solution so we could embrace our residents. Living without physical contact is not possible, therefore we decided to create the Tenderness,” as the curtain is known in the center.

Despite the severity of the coronavirus pandemic on a global level, the center, located just 600 meters from the French border, has been spared the effects of Covid-19.

Although not a single case has been detected at the center, the measures enforced to contain the virus have still had an effect on the residents.

“When people started talking about coronavirus, we were scared. Luckily we had access to the necessary material, and trying to act quickly, we stockpiled masks, gel, gloves and gowns,” Deseor said.

She also thanked the resident’s family members for sticking to the rules.EFE/EPA


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