Though many nursing home residents make it home for Christmas, there are always a few who don’t get to see their family over the holidays. Local nursing homes do their best however, to make sure the residents who don’t get to go home for Christmas have as much fun as the residents who do.
Kelly Silas, director of nursing at the McPherson Care Center, said members of the nursing home staff purchase Christmas gifts for all of the residents and also invite their families to come into the nursing home for a Christmas meal.
Though most of their residents who have local families go home for Christmas, there are a couple of residents who don’t get that privilege. Still, Silas said the holiday functions that the nursing home provides give those that stay something to do during the holiday season.
“We have three people that don’t have families,” said Silas. “The ones that don’t have a lot of visitors, are cognitively impaired and don't really know it's the holidays.”
Often, Silas said the nursing home will get carolers from the churches in the community and that gives the residents something to do that keeps them busy through the holidays.
“Everybody gets to participate in something, even if they don't know what is going on,” said Silas. “We are really fortunate because some nursing homes I’ve been to don't ever have visitors.”
Carma Wall, chief executive officer for the Cedars said weather often plays a big part in deciding if seniors make it home or not. Wall said they often have to isolate people with the flu and therefor, they often encourage seniors to stay in where it is safe.
“I would guess less than five percent leave the facility,” said Wall. “Sometimes it's more, but the weather is not very good this year.”
Though most of the residents at the Cedars stay at the nursing home, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have fun. Wall said each nursing unit has a potluck dinner where families are invited to bring in food and celebrate together. Because each unit has about 20 residents, Wall said the potluck is like a big family party.
“We are having parties all month long,” said Wall. “Besides the potluck, we also have a gift exchange and we had Santa come in and bring presents to each of the residents.”
Along with all the activities, Wall said they also have many groups who come in and sing, or make Christmas cookies or just entertain the residents.
“The amount of people coming in is really wonderful,” said Wall. “The residents just love that.”
 Melissa Holcom, Executive Director at Sterling House of McPherson said on December ninth, they had their family night, which included a Christmas dinner, gifts given by staff to the residents and an appearance by Santa.
One thing they do differently than the other nursing homes, is give the residents stockings instead of presents. Each resident has a stocking that is filled by a staff member with their favorite snacks and other treats.
“Sometimes the holidays can be depressing so we keep them busy,” said Holcom. “We've had a great public response for our residents. We see a lot of Christmas Carolers, school programs, flowers and Christmas cards.”
The Sterling House also recently started a ladies coffee group. Holcom said the female residents really enjoy that because it allows them to get out in the community.
“It has gone over exceptionally well,” said Holcom. “I think it is good for the ladies. There is a lot of them, but it's great because they get out and socialize. It also brings our friends in and keeps their spirits up.”