For many families, holiday traditions are an essential part of the season. Whether it’s sharing a meal, exchanging gifts or attending a special event, holidays are a chance to gather and celebrate. The holiday can be lonely for those who don’t have loved ones visiting, but residents and staff work together to make everyone feel included and welcomed.
“All of the United Church Homes communities, including residents, their families and our staff, come together to celebrate the holidays,” said Amy Kotterman, Director of Customer Experience. “We faced challenges last year due to COVID and made a concerted effort to enhance our celebrations this year. Our staff is taking it upon themselves to make the holidays extra special — the communities have really outdone themselves with holiday decorations.”
Staff and residents enjoy coming together to celebrate. “The bonds between residents and staff deepened over the past year. We celebrated unique events at each community, like reindeer visits at The Parkvue Community or Hanukkah celebrations at The Glenwood Community,” said Kotterman. Special touches from staff add to the magic of the holiday. “At The Trinity Community at Fairborn, a nursing assistant made holiday ornaments with residents’ names and passed them to staff,” shared Kotterman. “At Pilgrim Manor, the staff created an adopt-a-resident program where residents fill out a holiday wish list for others who wish to contribute, all initiated in the communities by our dedicated staff members.”
Other United Church Homes communities are receiving support from the community at large. At The Parkvue Community, the Perkins Township Police Department received a list of residents who need a little extra cheer this year. The department plans to distribute the gifts in person and visit the residents the week of Christmas. The Parkvue Community also enjoys caroling from staff, local churches and high schoolers.
Staff and volunteers make sure all residents are included. “If staff members notice that someone isn’t getting visitors, they will go out of their way to plan something special,” commented Kotterman. “During the holidays, nobody’s alone, and that’s one of the best parts about community life at United Church Homes. We are family here — there are deep bonds between neighbors, residents and staff.”