For most of North America everyone travels home for the holidays to be with family and friends. Reconnecting with music, food, presents and in some cases football. We often take for granted how special it is that we can just show up at our grandparents or parent’s homes and enjoy each other, tell stories, play games and just relax with great food in our bellies.
Perry Como’s 1969 hit Home For The Holidays speaks to how most feel about being home for the holidays with the last line of the song bringing it home. “if you want to be happy in a million ways, for the holidays you can’t beat home, sweet home.”
For seniors that have moved into Senior living the game has completely changed. They may or may not have a place to go for the holidays or even be able to get out if they did have family to visit.
Great providers of Senior Living understand this hardship and have come up with incredible creative loving ways to make the seniors feel Home for the Holidays. I sent out a bat signal to my network across North America for the most interesting celebrations and touches to be able to spread some holiday joy with everyone. So here it goes.
Hillandale Communities celebrates Thanksgiving in a big way with their residents and their families. More than 1,000 turkey dinners with all the trappings are served, along with special holiday movies at their state-of-the-art 2 story Monarch Cinema. Their Main Street is the perfect backdrop for a holiday celebration.
Entertainment is abundant along our Main Street shops and restaurants, and our holiday decorations are popular attractions throughout the community. Special entertainment including concert pianists, well-known vocalists and choirs highlight the festivities.
The “Winter Wonderland” showcase is a delightful experience in which entertainers, staff and actors work the crowd keeping spirits bright. Their Main Street Bakery’s holiday cookies and other desserts fill the air with captivating aromas that bring back warm memories of Grandmother’s kitchen.
Individual Christmas and Thanksgiving parties and gatherings are held in each Activity Division as well. Fake snow even falls from the sky which brings a smile on everyone’s face. Carolers spread yuletide cheer throughout the facilities, and deliver residents’ Christmas presents.
Revera Senior Living brings the holidays home with special food, activates and bringing the community in to help celebrate with the residents. Shrimp cocktail, baked ham and turkey and wonderful desserts. At one of their homes they host a Holly Jolly Christmas Bazaar – The event is open to the community. It is $5 for lunch and participants have the ability to shop for all kinds of holiday gifts.
At another they set up an ornament –making activity with the residents. The ornaments will are sold at Christmas Bazaar and proceeds will benefit the victims of Super Storm Sandy. “Cookies with Santa” event that is open to the community – Santa will be making a visit to the center and kids can even have their picture taken with him. They also run a “Santa Hotline” where kid can call and “talk” to Santa and give him their Wish List.
Randall Residence celebrates the holidays with its residents by creating custom photo greeting cards. In mid-November they create a fun activity by having the residents get ready for their photo shoot. After each hair is in place, lipstick applied, and smiles practiced, the photo is taken. Later, with the help of the graphics department, the photos are placed into an elegant holiday greeting card. The cared are then printed for the resident to distribute to family and friends. Additional cards are sent on their behalf to their physician, their therapist, or other professional involved in their care.
Families’ love the beautiful picture of their loved one, professionals comment on how great the resident looks and the residents are very proud of their photo shoot.
Each provider goes out of their way to bring the community in and create special happy memories for their residents.
They understand that the song does not go:
"Oh’s there’s no place like the nursing home for the holidays!"
Bravo to all of the senior living providers - also to those not mentioned in this article - who work tirelessly throughout the year but then take it one step further during the holidays. I know your efforts are appreciated.