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Holiday events enrich the lives of seniors

January 8th, 2024

In Lloydminster, resident Doreen dances with the Grinch.

When it comes to end-of-year holidays, Points West Living communities go all out. There are visits from Santa and the Grinch, delicious meals, community choirs, crafts with children, gingerbread-house competitions and much, much more.

Not only is festive fun on the menu, but holiday events and activities like these bring deeper meaning when it comes to enriching the lives of seniors.

“I feel five years younger!” said resident Eva from Heritage House in Vegreville, with a huge smile on her face and tears in her eyes as she hugged Santa. “I didn’t expect this.”

All year long, PWL communities follow the principles of the Eden Alternative, an approach to seniors’ care that supports the whole person by upholding their right to a life full of purpose, connection, empowerment and possibility, regardless of age or changing abilities.

“Eden principle 3 states the antidote to loneliness is easy access to the companionship we desire,” said Kristen Gusnowski, Recreation Aide at Heritage House—and Christmastime is definitely no exception. “Whether it was the Heritage House ‘family’ visiting the residents throughout the day, or their family and friends joining them for supper, residents were filled with joy.”

The same community also collected mittens, scarves, toques and socks for the local Christmas Bureau. Eden principle 4 states that we thrive when we have purpose and the opportunity to give, as well as receive. “Giving back to the community creates a connectedness to the community and creates so much joy for the residents,” said Gusnowski.

In PWL Lloydminster, the holidays included a visit from a wickedly grinning Grinch. “The Grinch and their faithful musical companion walked the halls and visited each and every one of our residents, spreading joy, laughter and a little bit of mischief,” said Maxwell Schaffner, Recreation Therapist.

This included popping by individual residents’ bedsides, which relates to Eden principle 2. This states that a caring, inclusive and vibrant community enables all of us, regardless of age or ability, to experience well-being. When it comes to activities of this sort, “We have to be adaptable in order to be inclusive to all,” Schaffner said.

There’s also Eden principle 5, which states that we thrive when we have variety, spontaneity and unexpected happenings in our lives. This certainly happened during the Christmas party at PWL Peace River. “It was so good—good food, good gifts, good friends, good fun,” said resident Teresa. “Thanks to all who made it soooooo good!” Residents were also surprised and delighted to receive beautiful gifts from the Town of Peace River through its Adopt a Grandparent Program.

Overall, the holiday season was cram-packed with festivities that benefited PWL residents and set them off on a good foot for 2024.

See photos here:

Read even more holiday examples here.

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