Staff at long-term care centres in CIUSSS West-Central Montreal made an extra-special effort to bring cheer and a festive spirit to residents this holiday season. From decoration contests to virtual celebrations, employees used creativity and imagination to adapt celebrations in the safest way possible.
(Note: These celebrations were held earlier in the holiday season, before the most recent pandemic-related restrictions.)
At the Father Dowd Residential Centre, nursing teams held a joyful decoration competition among the units (see the results in the photo gallery).
After the decorations went up, staff held a tree-lighting ceremony and a tree-decorating party for all residents to enjoy.
“We wanted to boost morale and bring the Christmas spirit to everyone who works and lives at Father Dowd,” says Dindo Miras, Program Coordinator at the centre.
Christmas is an important time of year at Father Dowd, whose roots reach back more than 150 years in the Irish Catholic community of Montreal. Students have traditionally visited residents at Christmas to deliver gifts, a practice that has spanned more than 50 years. To preserve the spirit of the gift-giving at a time when students are unable to attend, the recreation team at Father Dowd, with the generous support of the Auxiliary, purchased, labelled and wrapped a present for each resident.
Staff then dressed up as Santa and his helpers to transport the gifts in a sleigh that was specially constructed on site last year; the sleigh is attached to a trolley to move it from room to room.
Other long-term care centres in our CIUSSS also did their best to spread joy to residents, who have all experienced the difficulties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Mount Sinai Hospital, the Auxiliary generously provided gifts on the long-term care unit while celebrating Christmas with sing-alongs and holiday treats.
At the Saint Margaret Residential Centre, the recreation team held holiday-themed activities in the units, with music, eggnog and a mobile photo booth where residents could “ham it up” for the camera (see the photo gallery).
“Our staff are to be commended for the importance they placed on celebrating the holidays with residents in the safest manner possible,” says Leah Berger, Assistant to the Director of SAPA. “Employees at all sites were especially creative this year in their various holiday activities, and the result of their efforts is evident in how happy the residents all were to celebrate.”
Residents across our CIUSSS could also participate in a Zoom Christmas celebration on December 23, led by Chaplain Kosta Theofanos, spiritual advisor at Saint Andrew’s Residential Centre.
With Hanukkah celebrated earlier than usual this year, celebrations got underway in late November. At Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre, Jewish Eldercare and the long-term care unit at Mount Sinai, holiday celebrations on the units featured music, traditional food (including freshly baked latkes), along with prayers and a candle-lighting.
Residents and family members across the CIUSSS were able to tune in on Zoom to a
Hanukkah celebration led by Rabbi Moshe Ezagui. The event was recorded and played throughout the holiday for residents to enjoy.
After Hanukkah festivities wrapped up at Donald Berman Maimonides, residents got busy decorating small Christmas trees for friends and fellow residents who celebrate the holiday.