Christmas came early for the 34 residents of Lakeland Manor. Thursday afternoon they were joined by loved ones to celebrate the holiday, enjoy fellowship, and open gifts.
“Today we had our annual Christmas party,” Kelly Underwood, director of nursing, said. “Everyone’s family comes in, we open gifts from Santa and visit with the families.”
In addition to the gifts brought in by the residents’ families, area churches and the Salvation Army also donated gifts for the residents to open.
Kimela Plugge, social services and activities director, said that this year also brought one major gift in the form of a new Christmas tree thanks to a Secret Santa from City Hall.
“They usually adopt a few of our residents and buy them a tree, but this year we were in need of a new tree,” Plugge said. “It’s absolutely gorgeous and I just want them to know just how much the residents really enjoy it.”
The assisted living facility always hosts the event a few days before Christmas. According to Underwood, while several of the residents attend their family’s personal celebrations on Christmas, this event helps to ensure that most residents get to see family during the holiday season.
“Some of them didn’t have visitors today,” Underwood said. “Some work out of town and can’t get off work. They’ll send a gift but they’re just not able to come and be here with them.”
In these cases the team from Lakeland Manor is there to step in with holiday cheer. Thursday, Representative-elect Tammy Townley also came by to attend the celebration.
“Our staff will pitch in and all be with that one while the others have their family,” Underwood said. “We’ll make sure that everybody has somebody sitting with them.
In addition to the friends and gifts another major focus of the day is food.
“We generally all pitch in and help with food,” Underwood said. “Some of the family members will bring a dish as well. Then we combine it all and serve it out while the Christmas music is playing.”
According to Underwood, the resident’s favorite part is the time spent with their family.
“Their favorite part is seeing the families, opening gifts with them, and spending time with them here before the holidays,” Underwood said.