WATCH: Elderly Iowans Reunited With Family After a Year Without Hugs


DES MOINES, Iowa — Despite all we have lost during this pandemic, don’t ever doubt the appreciation we gained for hugs.

Ed and Sue Thompson hadn’t felt the warmth of Ed’s mother, Freda, in almost a year and a half. Freda lives at a long-term care facility in Des Moines. Like countless American families, the pandemic prevented the Thompsons from spending precious time with those they love. Ed hadn’t been able to embrace his mother in 16 months.

“We came for her 90th birthday. We celebrated here, and that was the last time we were able to hug and touch her,” said Sue. “There’s nothing like hugging and touching someone that you care about so much.”

Last month came the news many families had been waiting for. Iowa health officials loosened nursing home restrictions, allowing for most indoor visits to resume again. So the Thompsons drove all the way up from Kentucky to Des Moines to be reunited with Freda. WHO 13 cameras captured their emotional reunion, more than a year in the making.

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