April 9, 2020 / 5:11 PM / 4 months ago

Dutch elderly home builds glass-sided cabin for safe coronavirus visits

A man visits his wife at a care facility for elderly people with dementia, in a glass house that is made especially against loneliness caused by the visit ban due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Wassenaar, Netherlands, April 9, 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

WASSENAAR, Netherlands (Reuters) - A Dutch home for people with dementia has crafted a visiting cabin so that residents can safely meet with family or friends despite the coronavirus outbreak - separated only by a wall of glass.

Outfitted with comfortable chairs, a tea table, and a speaker system, the cabin makes life a little less lonely for residents and their families at a difficult time.

“It can be a little overwhelming at first for people to see, for instance, their father or mother, after three and a half weeks,” director Willem Holleman of Claris Zorgroep said.

Social distancing and other measures have been in place in the Netherlands since March 16.

Residents are brought to the cabin in the garden of the home in Wassenaar for an appointment, while visitors enter from a path on the other side.

“Once they’re inside there are two emotions. First a tear, a sort of happy sorrow — that feeling,” Holleman said.

“Then the following emotion for both: a big smile. Just joy to see each other again.”

Reporting by Piroschka van de Wouw. Writing by Toby Sterling; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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