We’ve been social distancing to keep each other safe for months now, and although we know it’s for the best, it can take a toll, especially on those who may have felt isolated to begin with.
Luckily, many in the world are responding by creating new, safe ways to bring people together and create community.
A senior center in Brazil has built a clear tunnel through which residents can see, speak to, and even hug their family members while quarantined. The “hug tunnel” alleviates the special problem faced by those in care facilities, who have been unable to receive visits from friends and their loved ones for many months now. “We noticed that our senior residents were feeling sad,” Rubia Santos, facilities administrator told CNN. “We thought they would be much happier if we found a way for them to hug their relatives.” The arm holes for hugging are even set at different heights so children and people who use wheelchairs don’t miss out on the opportunity to embrace their loved ones.
“The original social media” is being used to entertain and cheer up isolated seniors in the United States, as Radio Recliner uses the talents of retired DJs in assisted living facilities to broadcast news updates, original programming, and archived content to people over the internet. Chief Creative Officer Mitch Bennett not only called radio “the original social media,” he added, “Dedicating a song to someone you love, and having them hear it along with everyone else, is a special way of connecting. It’s a great time to bring that feeling back.”
Finally, here in Winston-Salem, there’s a new drive-in theater at the Carolina Classic Fairgrounds. Visitors can sit in their vehicles or set up seats in their parking space to take in a movie on a giant screen in the midway. Audio is broadcast through FM, so visitors bring their own radio (guests are asked not to let their car engines idle) and enjoy the experience alongside their neighbors under the Winston-Salem night sky. Each parking space is large enough to keep guests distant from each other, but, nevertheless, the shared experience is a powerful, uplifting one.