Heron Terrace creates memorable Christmas for residents during a challenging time

Gifts, music and safe Santa visits helped spread holiday joy
1/15/2021  - Deron Hamel

Although this past Christmas was different from previous holiday seasons at Heron Terrace due to the COVID-19 pandemic, team members ensured the festive spirit was as strong as ever, says Monica Coelho, the Windsor long-term care community’s social worker.

“From decorating to organizing Christmas parties and ensuring all residents received a Christmas gift, our residents were filled with Christmas joy,” she tells S&R Today.

The life enrichment team organized a Christmas party in each home area throughout the week of Dec. 14. Residents received treats made by Heron Terrace’s talented dietary team member Alyssa as well as a gift and special visits from two Santas.

The “Santas,” played by Luke, Heron Terrace’s environment services manager, and Dave from the housekeeping department, made appearances to spread holiday cheer to residents, Monica says.

“Santa ensured he was safeguarded with a surgical mask and face shield,” she notes.

The management team joined each party as Christmas carolers, Monica adds, noting Heron Terrace administrator Amy Sworik wanted to bring back fond Christmas memories through yuletide songs.

“Residents enjoyed the performance and entertainment,” she says.

Residents and team members also received a window visit from a “polar bear” who brought many smiles and laughs, Monica says.

The Heron Terrace team also created residents’ wish lists for family members to provide ideas for gifts they could send their loved ones.

This idea, Monica says, worked well and gifts were dropped off and placed into quarantine before being distributed on Christmas Day.

Community agency Home Instead also donated gifts, and a local family also sent gifts to residents. Monica notes many residents were able to have Zoom calls with their loved ones while opening their presents.

A Heron Terrace community partnership agency, Amy’s Helping Hands, also donated Christmas Eve meals to all team members.

On a sombre note, Monica says during the holidays everyone’s thoughts were with the Heron Terrace residents who passed away during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding the home is grateful for the memory tree team members created in their honour.

“We thank our life enrichment team for creating our memory tree for the residents who have passed,” she says.

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