Who are you? Why do you always show up at Christmas celebrations? We don’t see much of you any other time.
As a child, I saw you as the maker of every kind of wonderful toy in the world. Creations from baby dolls and teddy bears, to roller skates, scooters, bicycles and balls of every shape and size.
You kept a complete list on every child reminding you of our every deed, both good and bad. Nothing could make me angry faster than those “smart aleck” kids who claimed you did not exist.
At our house we started a “wish list” early… teaching us not to expect instant gratification, which in some instances allowed us to change our minds! When the winter nights were getting longer we found ourselves glancing out the window if we saw any movement or strange light. We knew it was Santa watching us, making sure we were doing as we should.
We got many gifts, but there were always a few things we didn’t find in our stocking or under the tree. This made us wonder if it was because of something we had done wrong, or if you simply ran out before you got to our house.
It took years and a family of my own for me to realize who you really are and why you were created.
The cookies and milk which have kept you “rotund” all these years taught us to show appreciation to those who gave to us. As children we set them out just before bedtime as our thank you for what we were expecting to receive. Parents were able to help us develop our imaginations and enjoy “make believe”. They could show surprise and help us enjoy some of the new toys and games.
Most of us, through the little birthday parties we would attend, soon realized that we bring gifts so that other kids will bring gifts to our party, if we bring one to theirs. That’s the way the big world works.
Jesus’s birthday is so much different. Jesus’s birth taught us that it is more blessed to give than to receive! In man’s way of trying to figure out how to accomplish this idea of giving, someone came up with a jolly, round fellow dressed in a red suit trimmed in white fur. He has been given several names including St. Nicholas, Father Christmas and finally Santa Claus. This is the name we have given the “Christmas Spirit”. It’s much more exciting than just calling it a gift from an unknown source.
WE all get the joy when we finally recognize who Santa is and God gets all the glory! I like to think that the idea of Santa always giving gifts without the expectation of a gift in return…is in a small way the essence of Jesus. Isn’t that why we celebrate Christmas…to give God the glory! This is my point of view as a great-grandmother looking up from my rocking chair.
Thank you for sharing your love and our joy!
Have you ever considered working or volunteering with seniors? One of the greatest joys that an individual can experience is to be able to enjoy the work that they do. Working in assisted living, is not a career it is a calling. One of the first things that I tell potential employees in the interview process is that if you don’t feel that you have the capacity to truly care about the folks that live in our communities…then this is probably not the career for you. In this setting we get to help the residents that live in our communities, but many times we receive more of a blessing from them, than we could possibly ever give. As we approach National Assisted Living Week, I have had many different people from many different walks of life ask what they can do that the residents would enjoy. While there are multiple ways or even multiple things that I have seen bring joy to the faces of residents through the years…there is one that stands out as having the most impact. It is time. Here is a short list of things that you can do that can make someone’s day in an assisted living community.
Share your talents! If you sing, dance, play guitar or whatever gift you have plan a day to come and share with our seniors.
Take time to play! Do you love dominoes? Are you a whiz at Skip Bo? Are you great at calling Bingo? Stop in and spend some time playing games with a group. It will be good for you and them too?
Are you a chatterbox? Even the gift of gab is appreciated. Be prepared to listen too! Our folks love to talk and share.
***Here are some additional ideas that I really like from sharethegood.org
Uncover THEIR skills: If you don’t already know the kind of career your friend had, find out! Ask questions about their biggest lessons or favorite moments. Don’t forget to ask them about their skills and hobbies outside the job, too—sewing, woodworking, writing. Request that they teach you a thing or two.
Log the memories: Bring along a photo album, scrapbook or journal on your visit, and encourage your friend to sit and compile their memories with you. Use narrative, photos, captions, doodles and more. You’ll be turning their oral stories into a documented history book in no time!
Make some artwork: Turn select pages of your memory book into wall art for their room. Simply photocopy the best pages with photos and captions, then hang them up so your friend can continuously recall good times. Plus, colorful photos are sure to brighten any room.
It truly is the time that is given in each of these opportunities that is appreciated the most. Look for ways that you can volunteer and stop by and see us. You can coordinate your visit with your local community administrator. They may have other ideas that can make your visit a success as well. If you are looking for employment opportunities, check out our individual community pages. You can see current openings and get other information by clicking on the career section of the websites.
We are right around the corner from National Assisted Living Week. Every year this tradition is a very special time for our residents, staff, families and our entire community. As we busy ourselves with plans and preparation to make this event a success, I wanted to stop and reflect on why this year’s theme means so much to me personally.
I started working in assisted living in 2010. I am truly amazed how quickly time has passed. Through these last years, I have met some truly amazing people. I have laughed and I have cried. I have learned about others and I have learned about myself. Rick Warren once said, “while it is wise to learn from experience, it is wiser to learn from the experience of others.” The people that live and work and volunteer in our communities are true blessings. I have learned many life lessons from so many of these wonderful people. The wisdom that the residents share is invaluable. The families of our residents are treasures as well.
National Assisted Living Week will be the week of September 10th through the 16th and the theme this year is “Family is Forever”. This year’s theme is inspired by a quote from the poet Maya Angelou: “Family isn’t always blood, it’s the people in your life who want you in theirs: the ones who accept you for who you are, the ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”
I feel this theme truly represents what I see on a daily basis. It’s in the encouragement of a staff member, the smile of a volunteer or the laughter of a resident. The people that you will find here truly are family. Find out more about our communities at the links listed below. Schedule a tour at one of our properties today. Find out why we believe Family is Forever!
Recently someone said to me that I seemed to always have it together. Me? Together? Now that is funny! Most days I feel like I am chasing my tail. Did they know my day that morning started with dry shampoo?? But isn’t that life? Most of us are convinced that everyone else always has it TOGETHER. We envision everyone with cleaner houses, perfectly cooked dinners and flawless families. In reality, we are all doing our best…to do our best. One thing that will de-rail our “best” in a hurry is stress. It is very common to hear from families of seniors dealing with “role reversal” that it is one of the most stressful tasks they have ever endured. It’s one thing to raise and help our children…but when it comes to helping our parents…this is no easy task. We don’t want to disrespect, but we also want to keep them safe. Here are some tips to help you be proactive and avoid making situations frustrating for both you and your loved ones.
Don’t forget your Vitamin ZZZZZ
It sounds simple, but get your sleep! According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health, and safety. The Foundation advises: “When we don’t get adequate sleep, we accumulate a sleep debt that can be difficult to “pay back” if it becomes too big. The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior.” Getting a good night sleep is important to your health and will help you be more effective in helping others and that includes your elderly parents.
Track Down a Paper Trail
According to AARP, an important part of getting things untangled for your elderly parents is organizing paperwork and documentation. “The first thing to do is ask your parents where they store important papers. It may be in a file cabinet at home, or in a safety deposit box or with an attorney. You can’t get organized if you can’t find anything, so come up with a checklist to write down where everything is. Documents that should be assembled and accounted for include”:
- birth certificate
- marriage certificate
- death certificate (for deceased spouse)
- divorce papers
- military records
- driver’s license/organ donor card
- passport/citizen papers
- living will
- durable power of attorney
- health care power of attorney
- letter of instruction — with funeral arrangements, important contact information such as insurance agent or broker.
- insurance policies (life, disability, long-term care)
- information about safety deposit boxes (e.g., location, number, key)
Remember to Enjoy Each Other
In this fast-paced world that we all get caught up in, it seems we can lose sight of the things that are important. Yes, making sure that everyone is safe and sound is huge! But Mom may also really enjoy sharing a cup of coffee with you. Dad may want to talk about the weather. Take time to enjoy the blessings each day. These small moments together will become larger than life soon enough. Make time to take time and as my Mom reminds me when I feel I’m at my wits end…just breathe.
If it is time to help Mom or Dad look at the option of Assisted Living please give us a call today. We would love to have you and your loved one come have lunch with us and see all that our communities have to offer.
Get more information at www.greatoaksmanagement.com