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Designated huggers bring heartfelt joy on Valentine's Day

"Designated huggers" delighted those who need a boost on Valentine's Day.
Posted at 10:43 AM, Feb 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-14 11:52:03-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — For many seniors in our community, Valentine's Day does not bring the extra attention or interaction that we've come to expect.

So, a local senior home-care service wants to change that by being "designated huggers" for Valentine's Day.

These "visiting angels" are surprising local seniors at their homes.

They're bringing gifts and of course their hugs!

The group picked out elders in our community who typically spend a majority of their time alone.

For those who are often surrounded by friends and family, a simple touch like a hug can be taken for granted.

These days more and more grandparents are feeling lonely.

It could be because their widowed or do not have relatives nearby.

That's why visiting angels created "designated huggers."

This is the first year they've done this and their first stop was at Norman Paris' home.

Paris has 10 children and more than 20 grandkids, but says anytime someone makes time for him, it makes a world of difference.

"Am I gonna enjoy this! It's like I'm a kid all over again,” Paris said.

Visiting Angels says 70 percent of their seniors feel isolated and alone.

"You do fill a very important need, for people,” Paris said.

The group is surprising as many seniors as it can for the next few days.

"You could see how it's so touching and how warm they feel that people are paying special attention to them,” says Susan Kerr, Visiting Angels director.

It's not just hugs -- seniors are also receiving teddy bears, chocolates and Valentine's Day cookies.

"The good Lord, along with you and your people,” Paris said. “He'll take care of me."

Visiting Angels says studies show a heartfelt hug is a great stress buster as it can lower blood pressure and even make cold symptoms less severe.

They plan to make this an annual event for Valentine's week.