Every year, people work hard to make sure needy local children have a wonderful Christmas. But the people at the other end of the age spectrum are sometimes forgotten.
Older citizens with families nearby usually have someone who will visit on the holidays and bring presents or treats.
But local nursing homes have many residents who just no longer have family nearby — or, even sadder, have relatives who just don’t care. Imagine how sad and lonely the holidays can be for them.
We are certain that the caring staff members do their best to make Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and the other occasions special. But they could use some help from kind-hearted community members, as well.
Every year, when he was alive, Dr. Angelo LaMariana used to remind Press-Republican staff about that need. A music professor at SUNY Plattsburgh and accomplished musician, Angie was fortunate enough to be spry up until he died at age 95. But he knew others were not nearly as lucky; he saw them at nursing homes when he visited to bring communion to shut-ins.
In Angie’s honor, we urge people every year to remember nursing-home residents when they are reaching out to less fortunate members of the community.
We spoke with staff at Clinton County Nursing Home in Plattsburgh for some gifts suggestions for residents. We are sure these ideas would work for most any nursing home in our region, but you can always call up for specific wish lists.
Here are some inexpensive gift ideas that would mean a great deal to people who don’t receive much for the holidays: body wash (unscented), body lotions, body spray, slipper socks, sun catchers that could go in their windows (with suction cups), CDs (’50s, ’60s and ’70s and country & western music), bird feeders and seed, large-print calendars, decks of cards, white T-shirts of various sizes for tie-dye projects, search-a-word books and neck-support pillows.
You don’t need to wrap the gifts, as seeing them allows staff to match the present with the right person. But providing wrapping paper is a nice touch.
Will your gift donations make a difference? You bet they will.
“It really means the world to our residents to know that they are not forgotten and that the greater community of which they were such a viable part remembers them at this very magical time of year,” Laurie Lucia, activities director at Clinton County Nursing Home, told the Press-Republican in an email. “It doesn’t matter if you are 2 or 102, the spirit of Christmas and the feeling of home and togetherness is important to everyone.”
These nursing-home residents were once productive and vibrant community members, just like you. Let them know they are respected and remembered.