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Holiday atmosphere: Nursing homes boost Christmas spirit
The Jamestown Sun - 12/24/2018
Dec. 24--The holidays are a time for memories and the staffs of skilled care nursing homes in Jamestown do their best to help the residents at those facilities relive those times, according to Peggy Widmer, activities director at Ave Maria Village.
"The holidays are very special to the residents because it brings back a lot of memories," she said. "We are creating a chance to talk about these things."
Creating that opportunity can take many forms.
"We focus on making the environment as festive as possible," said Dough Panchot, executive director of Eventide Jamestown. "Inside and out. Inside we have a lot of trees which can be a challenge with regulations, but we make it work."
Panchot said the effort is to set the mood and heighten the Christmas spirit of the residents, staff and visitors.
Visitors include not only families of residents, but other community groups who help celebrate Christmas.
"We have a lot of carolers coming in," Panchot said. "It's fun to see the young kids come in and do this."
Widmer said some of the local schools perform parts of their programs at Ave Maria Village. Other activities include lunches with apple cider and gingerbread cookies and even a visit from Santa Claus.
"It is all a chance to reminisce about the traditions they had as kids and traditions they had with their own families," Widmer said.
Witnessing those conversations can be special to the staff as well.
"The unique thing is the different generations," Panchot said. "To hear the stories and to see the kids and the great-grandkids is a lot of fun."
Jordan Shipley, administrator and owner of Rock of Ages in Jamestown, said the holiday season is very busy for the residents and the staff.
"We see a lot of family come in from out of town and out of state," he said.
All of the homes serve a full Christmas dinner and allow family to join the residents for the meal. Secret Santa programs at each home also deliver gifts to the residents from the staff.
But the visitors, whether it be youth groups singing carols or family stopping to spend time with a resident, are among the most important of the holiday activities, Panchot said.
"It is fun to see the community come out and see our residents," he said.
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