Thanksgiving is a day when loved ones gather to reflect and appreciate the blessings in our lives. It is also the official kickoff of the holiday season. There’s so much to do and time is not our friend. I don’t mean just sitting with your sister-in-law after your family feast and creating your Black Friday battle strategy or hunkering down to watch 24-hour football. More importantly, how in our personal and professional lives can each of us make a difference in the lives of others? I’m sure you can handle the shopping/football part without my help.
As long-term care professionals—from administrator to caregiver—you know all the ways you make a difference to residents in your care community. But the word “community” stretches beyond the boundaries of a building or campus. While planning activities and events within, why not look beyond your doors and consider the needs of others not in your care?
One New Jersey CCRC is doing just that. Emeritus at Voorhees invites citizens in the South Jersey area to visit its campus for a number of holiday events to meet residents, visit the community and do a good turn. One opportunity is for visitors to select an ornament that bears the name, wants and wishes of a child facing hard times from the “Pick an Angel” tree. Names are provided by the Volunteers of America—Delaware Valley.
Toys for Tots is always a wonderful opportunity to make a child smile. Emeritus at Voorhees invites shoppers to pick up a special toy that catches their eye and bring it to a collection area in its living room for donations. Residents love to donate too. But not only does the CCRC look to help others, it wants to help seniors in the community at large, too.
Next week they will be delivering pumpkin pies to homebound senior in the area and, on Thanksgiving weekend, area residents can stop in, have hot chocolate and enjoyment, while their gifts are wrapped by facility staff. Because no one is really done shopping, this event will be held again in mid-December.
Creative opportunities to involve residents, staff and the community abound. I recently told you of two other giving programs in a previous blog.
Besides being hectic, this can be a time of great joy, fulfillment and opportunity. Seek out those events and charitable giving opportunities to let your community and its residents become partners with the people in your town. It’s a win-win for all.