A personal touch: Style Lounge visits Sacred Heart to help fill a need

Published 5:39 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2023

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With just a few short days before Christmas, many will turn their attention toward looking their best for family, friends and loved ones.

At Sacred Heart Care Center Wednesday morning, stylists from The Style Lounge in Austin were there to help residents do just that.

Four stylists — Style Lounge owner Lindsey Haney and stylists Samantha Bergene, Ashley Quintavalle and Claudia Kniefel — worked on residents’ hair Wednesday to get them ready for the holidays and just give them much appreciated attention. The week prior Kniefel, Katlyn Murphy, Tristen Cliff and Hanna Thompson volunteered their time, giving mostly haircuts to the men of Sacred Heart.

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“It is so important for the well-being of the people we have here and their families,” said Director of Nursing at Sacred Heart Kim Klingfus. “It’s just pampering them and it makes them feel like they used to. It’s been a lot of fun.”

The stylist’s visit to Sacred Heart was more than just a spa day for residents, however. It served a purpose. Just before the last two months of the year, Sacred Heart’s beautician retired, leaving the facility needing to fill the gap for residents.

That’s when the Style Lounge stepped in to help. 

“They offered to come in the last two weeks before Christmas,” Klingfus said. “We appreciated it so much.”

Haney said that on their end, the visits started with a simple question: what could they do for their community?

“We were at last month’s team meeting talking about different ways we could give back,” Haney said. “I had remembered in years past that nursing homes, post pandemic, were struggling to get hair stylists in their facilities.”

From there, Haney called a number of facilities and Sacred Heart took up their offer.

The stylists worked on almost all of the 53 residents during their visits, and they did so Wednesday with chocolates being handed out and Christmas music playing gently in the background.

“The relationships that are created inside a salon are indescribable, really,” Haney said when talking about taking that opportunity into Sacred Heart. “There is something about physically touching somebody and a trust is formed. They share more of their story with you.”

“I think we bring in fun energy,” Haney continued. “Our salon culture is really fun. (Residents) have limited access to outside of their own community. We had a lot of family members that stopped in during the two weeks we were there and I think they really appreciated us being there.”

That connection highlighted the social importance of being able to have these services performed for residents and give them the opportunity to socialize with people coming in from outside of Sacred Heart.

“They could tell stories and talk to the residents,” Klingfus said. “It’s wonderful and we’re grateful for them.”

The stylists who volunteered took time out of their own schedules to visit Sacred Heart and Haney thinks there could be more opportunity in the future to do more things like this.

But at the same time, she hopes that this could be an example of how others could take part to help meet the needs of nursing home facilities.

“I’ve actually had a few people reach out and say there are other nursing homes that are in need,” Haney said. “If anything, it creates awareness for somebody who is able to go in weekly.”

“We enjoyed it so much,” she added. “It was literally an hour, hour and a half of our time. It was definitely very enjoyable.”