By Barbara Sutherland
Brent Hughes, the manager of food services for Golden Sands, was the first to stir things up by suggesting he’d like to prepare the residents a traditional Christmas turkey with all the trimmings – in the middle of summer. Other employee care partners and residents were quick to jump on the idea, and soon they were ready with activities, decorations, and gifts; everything Christmas, except the snow.
Hand-knit Slippers for Each Resident
The gift-giving dovetailed nicely into a project Ali Knechtel (LPN Wellness Supervisor) has been working on for months. She has hand-knit a cozy pair of slippers for each resident. She applied a grip appliqué to the soles, and each pair is unique. Ali plans to keep at it until every resident who will move into Golden Sands over the next few months has their own special pair of homemade slippers.
In that same spirit of giving, Health Care Aides Rhonda Thoms and Brooklynn Belanger searched for thoughtful gifts to add to Ali’s slippers in residents’ Christmas gift bags. Among other treasures, they found the perfect gift for the hard-working farmer, Bill Lewiski, a ball cap embroidered with the words ‘Work is in my blood’.
Activities leading up to ‘Christmas Day’ included making decorations for the Christmas tree (brought in by Brent), ‘Christmas Eve’ hot chocolate, Christmas baking (which got gobbled up before the big day) and the Christmas Day feast. Residents were delighted with the gifts and food and fun and were excited to pose for Christmas photos within the big photo frame created by Recreation Therapist Anoop Jose.
Goofing Around Together
“It was a very inclusive and family-oriented time,” says recreation coordinator Iona Wolstenholme. “It felt like we were a big family; posing for pictures, goofing around, all sitting together. At one point, I had to go and pick up something from a cottage kitchen where one resident had chosen to sit out the festivities. I persuaded him to come and join us, and once he did, he settled comfortably, sat down and enjoyed dinner with us. That was a special moment.”
Photo: Resident Vernie Mosich and care partner Ali 'the Elf' Knechtel share the frame and bright smiles at Golden Sands' Christmas in July.