First and foremost, St. Andrews Village remains COVID-19 virus free! To say we are thankful is an understatement. We remain cautiously optimistic as things could change in a blink of an eye, but as the saying goes we “savor each moment” and live/work each day with endurance and hope.
As with Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, Christmas this year will be the same for our residents: stay home, stay safe. On the bright side, staff have decked-the-halls and created an amazing atmosphere of joy for everyone to delight in. The Village is once again transformed into a holiday wonder where festive lights and decorations abound.
On the healthcare side, there are holiday decorations – traditional and new – throughout all areas. Residents enjoy a large decorated tree that stands in the main area of Gregory Wing. The St. Andrews Auxiliary graciously purchased hundreds of outdoor holiday lights and ornaments to decorate a large evergreen that lives just out from the patio. With the help of lift equipment, the Village maintenance crew placed them on for all to enjoy. Packages and gift/food baskets arrive daily to loved ones which staff deliver as soon as possible. As part of our current protocol, these items are carefully quarantined or sanitized prior to delivery to residents. These extra tasks that staff perform daily are just one example of the precautions needed to keep everyone at the Village safe.
Spreading the love continued recently as the LincolnHealth Employee Recognition Committee pulled together and organized a special collection. Like many, they know that people in long-term care and other areas have been isolated for most of 2020, so they organized a collection of gifts to be divided among all of the LincolnHealth family campuses. Last Friday, one of Santa’s elves delivered some of these very thoughtful items for residents to enjoy: non-skid slippers, amaryllis bulbs, large word search puzzles, gifts cards, postage stamps and more. Once again, an amazing outpouring of support.
On the apartment side of the Inn, staff and residents worked together (masked of course) to create a very homelike holiday atmosphere. Residents enjoy relaxing by the gas fireplace in the decorated living room. The puzzle table continues to be a popular activity and afternoon tea with friends keeps many happy. A recently welcome addition was the purchase of a very large flat screen television set up in the main dining area. Residents have been thrilled to gather – safely distanced – to watch holiday movies and concerts on the large screen. A highlight is the online broadcast of Portland Symphony’s Orchestra Magic of Christmas which the Village provided to residents throughout the month.
Other fun activities have included individual rides to Garden’s Aglow and through town. And residents also recently formed a group and designed/built a gingerbread creation for the Spectacular held at the Opera House. This year, the group chose snowmen/women as their theme and received “Most Creative” from the judges.
It was smiles all around when residents were recently treated by two special elves who, with hats and music, strolled through the halls delivering door-to-door glasses of wine and cranberry ale along with a fun packaged assortment of cheese, fruit, crackers and chocolates.
What about Christmas Dinner? Every resident at the Village will receive an extra special dinner this year prepared by our very talented dietary department. Cottage folks will also have special delivery of the Christmas Dinner delivered to their front doors by those two special elves.
Despite the pandemic and the restrictions it has placed on us all, the Village is hanging in there. Yes, there is loneliness, boredom and fear. But there is resilience, hope and optimism. The staff continues to make sure everyone feels safe and has what they need, even if someone just wants to talk – we’re all in this together, helping one another.
To that end, all staff, caregivers and essential vendors continue to follow protocol by going through a check-in process every day. This includes taking temperatures and asking each employee questions directly related to their current health status, possible exposure to COVID-19, as well as any recent travel.
Almost one year into this pandemic, Village front-line workers on both the healthcare and independent sides continue to be extraordinarily dedicated. Support from families and the community at large continue to be heart-felt and amazing.