IDAHO — Thanksgiving looks different this year, especially for some of our most vulnerable populations in long-term care facilities. Due to health restrictions, families can't visit this year.
So, nursing homes and assisted living centers are getting creative to celebrate the holidays with residents.
“All of our residents, we love them and they are our family and so we are going to have some good times and this Thanksgiving is going to be super special because we get to be with them,” The Cottages Assisted Living Community Outreach Coordinator, Becky Jackman said.
Residents at The Cottages Assisted Living have an untraditional Thanksgiving this year, but they're still finding ways to connect with family and enjoy yummy food. In years past, the families join residents to continue typical holiday traditions.
This year staff set out to connect residents with families through video and phone calls.
“I've told them like this last week ‘hey we’re going to be talking with your family’ and they grab my hand and look at me and say ‘oh thank you, thank you!’ And just seeing that response is wow, something that so many of us take for granted is just something that they are so appreciative for,” Quality of Life Coordinator, Maddy Bartolomeo said.
Staff also put up a “thankfulness tree” for residents to express what they are thankful for this holiday.
“Every resident then made a leaf and wrote on it what they are thankful for and signed their name and just kind of used that time to reflect on areas of their life, even though its a harder time right now, just the areas in their life they are thankful for,” Bartolomeo said.
Residents were also in charge of the Thanksgiving dinner and they got to pick out what foods they wanted to enjoy throughout the day.
“We’ve got locations that had everybody pick their favorite pie and the residents are helping them, help make the pies. They said we will probably have more pie than anything else, but that’s what they wanted” Jackman said.
To ensure a good quality of life, staff have had to step in this year, acting as family during these tough times and creating a holiday these residents won't forget.
“The holidays are especially tough when you can’t be physically in person with family, but I think we’re making the best out of a tough situation,” Jackman said.