GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — An advocacy group is encouraging the community to hang pink ribbons for loved ones at long-term care facilities who won't make it home for the holidays.
Many families will have an empty chair at the table for Thanksgiving since it's not safe to gather due to COVID-19.
"For those with loved ones with dementia, this may be the last holiday they have, so to be displaced, and not be able to have that hug, that’s why we call it Hugs for the holidays," Mary Anne Oglesby-Sutherly said.
She said the ribbons are meant to raise awareness.
"Just for Tennessee to say hey, 'we’re thinking about you,' when you sit down at Christmas at your own table with your loved ones, it’s not going to be that way for some, and so it breaks my heart," Oglesby-Sutherly said.
Oglesby-Sutherly works with dementia and Alzheimer's patients at Veranda Ministries in Gallatin. She also operates the Facebook advocacy group called Tennessee Caregivers for Compromise. She said isolation has been terrible.
"It is taking a devastating toll on their health, how they eat," Sutherly said. "The community has tried their best to make it home, but Dorothy is right, there’s no place like home, and it’s just hard for them, so isolation is their enemy."
Her goal is for the ribbons to be a symbol of hope in a time of hardship.
"A little bit of sunshine in some gloom," she said.
The advocacy group is urging people to make pink ribbons or buy them at local florist shops. She said most people are hanging them on trees, mailboxes, and front doors.