Visiting Angels sending ‘designated huggers’ to surprise local seniors for Valentine’s Day

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Local seniors are getting an extra special surprise this Valentine’s Day. A company is using an unconventional way to ‘spread the love’ their way.

Valentine’s Day can be especially lonely for some seniors who may be widowed or don’t have family close by. The company Visiting Angels say they hope to help this year — with something as simple as a hug.

Most days of the year, Visiting Angels provides home and companion care for seniors.

“We want to help seniors maintain their independence, we want to help them stay at home,” said Kendall Corley, owner and director of Visiting Angels in Albuquerque. “We get caregivers, we assign them to go to clients’ homes and we help them stay there as long as we can.”

However, for Valentine’s Day, they’re in the business of showing the love. They’re delivering chocolates, flowers and even the simple gesture of a hug.

“I’m a designated hugger. I’m going to be hugging our clients and myself and a few caregivers are going to be going to different client’s homes and just give them a hug,” said Corley. “It makes a huge difference. We all are going through things and I think our clients, specifically, are going through a lot.”

Their first stop of the week is Randy Edmonds of Rio Rancho. For Edmonds, this Valentine’s surprise is more than just a gift of a hug or flowers. He says the gift of time and patience means more than anything.

“They have inspired me to do better,” said Edmonds, who receives home care through Living Angels. “They’ve taken time with me.”

The surprise stop turns into a warm, afternoon visit. In addition to Corley, two caregivers also came by, playing a tune on Edmonds’ piano and sitting around the kitchen table for a good laugh after taking his vitals.

“I’ve found the people to be very nice, pleasant, knowledgeable and patient,” said Edmonds. “I’ve been blessed.”

Visiting Angels is making their way from home to home this week. With gifts and conversations, their mission is to ‘spread the love,’ one hug at a time.

“Not everybody has a spouse, not everybody has a significant other. We don’t have to be that significant other,” said Corley. “We can still be love. So we just go do that.”

Visiting Angels will continue the surprise hugs and gifts throughout the rest of Friday in the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho areas. Corley says he does read the situation beforehand and knows when someone is *not* a hugger.

Outside of Valentine’s Day, the company provides a variety of private home care to help seniors maintain independence, ranging from simple medication reminders and companionship to Alzheimer’s assistance and fall prevention.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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