It’s the Thought That Counts
By: Michelle Remold
As the Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close, I can’t help but anticipate the rest of the holiday season. This time of year is definitely my favorite and I try to volunteer as much as possible. This time of year also makes me think about ways to include loved ones who are in skilled nursing facilities, especially those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
When I think back to when my grandpa was in the nursing home, some of my best memories come from the holiday season. We couldn’t put a tree up in his room, but we always had a fake Poinsettia for his night stand and brought a real one for the nursing station. We also would bring a few sheets of window clings for his window. We would bring holiday themed coloring books, color pictures with him, and hang them on his walls for decorations.
When we got around to baking cookies, a tray would find its way up to him. My grandpa had a sweet tooth, so cookies were his favorite part. We would also bring cookies up for the nurses and would pass out cookies and other desserts to the residents who were able to eat them. We would wrap presents and take them up to the nursing home for him to open. During one of my grandpa’s last holidays, my cousin played the piano and we all sang carols for him. My brother and I even would dance with him to the music playing in the hallways.
As the holidays roll around, people tend to become very busy, but it’s important to remember that it is the small things that make holidays great. It could be stopping up to put window clings or bringing up coffee and cookies and just enjoying each other’s company or a short note. I think the most important thing is to make them feel special and remembered.
They may not remember in a few moments what gifts they had just received, what pictures were taken, or what songs were sung, but does it really matter? For a few moments they had a smile on their face and to me that’s all that matters. After all it’s the thought that counts.
Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.