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Nurse of the Week Ashleigh Lugar, a nurse in Waco, Texas, extended her nursing repertoire by spending a day as a hairdresser for 36 of her locked-down patients at the Heartis Senior Living Center.

As Director of Health Services at the Center, Lugar felt a deep sympathy for the plight of her isolated patients. Not only were they missing their regular haircuts, they were also in dire need of some one-on-one personal contact. On her Facebook account, Ashleigh noted, “The last three months have been hard, but harder for our residents. No family can visit. They have to eat in their apartments. We are not allowed to let a barber in to do hair. We are watching them decline mentally and physically…”

Older Americans living in senior residences have been suffering even when they escape the virus. In addition to being denied visits from their loved ones, many senior citizens are now living without social activities, community events, and services such as Meals on Wheels. Cut off from the embraces of family, and deprived of so many of the social interactions that help keep them grounded, the elderly are now more vulnerable than ever to severe depression.

After pondering the situation, Ashleigh came up with a unique way to treat her seniors to a combination of human contact and personal care. As she explained on Facebook, “I decided today to hang up my stethoscope and throw on a barber apron today. I am not licensed and did not charge for my services. But let me tell you after 3 months of no beautician it was time to step in. I did 36 haircuts and styles today. Watching my mom do hair the last 30 years paid off today. I didn’t have one unhappy resident. They were so thankful to just “feel like themselves again”. It felt so good to see them come back to life. 8 hours straight, no break didn’t even go in my office once today because I wanted to get as many as I could.”

Lugar was cheered when a local news outlet found her post and published a story, but she noted, “While the publicity is nice, I enjoyed the hugs and cards I got from my residents thanking me for what I did.”

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Koren Thomas
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