Through the Looking Glass program allows for long awaited reunions

Posted at 6:28 AM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 09:12:58-04

BILLINGS - Mother's Day marks another strange holiday, one filled with caution and more distance than normal, as the world continues to tip-toe through the coronavirus pandemic.

It has hit seniors the hardest, specifically those living in retirement homes.

One facility unveiled a new lifeline to bring families back together.

The Springs at Grand Park has introduced the Through the Looking Glass program to their residents this week. It is an 8 foot by six foot enclosed plexiglass.

"It was developed by one of our communities in Oregon. Upon learning about it, took the idea to American Glass," said The Springs at Grand Park Life Enrichment Director Pamela Henrichs-Schlepp. "And not only did he make us one, he made us two, and he donated both of them. He said it was their duty and their honor to help our seniors communicate."

The glass allows residents to be outside with their families, but still be protected from COVID-19.

"They've given each other kisses, and touched hands, especially the grandchildren," Henrichs-Schlepp said.

Lola wanted to make sure the world knew something this mother's day that she holds very dear.

"I'm very proud of my children," she said.

"We have very, very active family members, they have visits several times a week, so this has been really difficult," Henrichs-Schlepp said. "The first person to use this, her daughter Shelly came and she just sobbed. It was just absolutely touching what it means just to see each other, and even though they couldn't touch, they could touch through the glass."

Henrichs Schlepp hopes that other communities might be inspired by the idea, and offer something similar to residents in other locations.