Health Center Residents Get Special Christmas Gift

December 22, 2020

Joyce Crook

By Terrie M. Roberts

Clara Wilkinson pushes Frances Kurz, 94, down the hall in her wheelchair from her room at Health Center at Live Oak. Kurz’s tiny frame strikes a regal pose, her eyes twinkling behind wire rim glasses as she passes the nurses’ station toward what residents and staff refer to as “the bridge.”

The “bridge” is a window-filled hallway that connects the Health Center with Franks Community Centre and Garden Apartments at The Oaks. It has been transformed by Health Center staff into a cacophony of lights and Christmas music during the day. Outside, an assortment of holiday inflatables adds to the festive feel, making the “winter wonderland” experience for residents a much-needed holiday treat!

As Mrs. Kurz nears the hallway and hears the music, her lips lift upward. The warm glow of her happiness crosses her face. Dementia has not taken away the former music teacher’s love of music and as she sits in the hallway enjoying the sights and sounds, she begins to sing.

“It was a huge, unexpected and welcome reaction,” Wilkinson says. “We have had such trying months being on lockdown with visitation restricted and activities limited to in-room. The past 10 months have not been easy. It has been especially difficult to get into the holiday spirit. To hear Mrs. Kurz sing was so heartwarming.”

“The lights, music and inflatables have meant a great deal to mother,” says Martha Anderson, Kurz’s daughter. “She brought it up three different times when we talked.”

Other Health Center residents feel the same.

Resident Joyce Crook says the inflatables remind her of a Macy’s parade: A gingerbread man and a gingerbread girl; a stack of Christmas presents with a penguin on top; a train with a “Merry Christmas” banner; Santa’s house; a couple of Christmas trees; a cat and dog; reindeer; and an elf.

“It is so beautiful out there. It puts everyone in the Christmas spirit,” resident Mary Nichols says.

And that’s as it should be.