Tis the season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so why not let residents join in on the fun?

Residents at the Lutz Wing nursing home on the Mayo Clinic Health Services campus in Fairmont, Minnesota, fluffed branches and hung ornaments. Trimming the tree took a few hours, activities director Sue Findley told the Fairmont Sentinel, but residents were rewarded with a pretty tree. The extra special topper: a sense of accomplishment for helping deck the halls and the opportunity to reminisce about holidays past.

Residents can sing “Oh Christmas Tree” and other carols, bake cookies, spend time with family and visitors, admire decorations and go Christmas shopping. There’s no shortage of activities this time of year, but like gifts, it’s finding the right one for each resident. Some residents might prefer individual visits instead of group activities while others might not be able to join in group activities.

“Even though someone might not verbalize back to you, the activity staff can talk to them: ‘Remember when,’ or ‘I remember when my grandma used to make cut-out cookies,’” Geerdes says. “You can reminisce with people even if they might not be able to respond.”

Gift giving doesn’t require any words, nor does giving thanks, witnessed Michelle Clancey, activities director at Ingleside Inc. She helped residents make wreaths. One woman hadn’t done much crafting before, gave her wreath to another female resident who wasn’t feeling well. The wreath turned out to be a gift for both women. “Her face lit up just as much as the other lady’s did,” Clancey says.

The best present remains presence–simply spending time being with residents. 

Topics: Activities