The residents of local nursing homes have a rich holiday season, with staff members, families, churches and other organizations providing music, gifts and fellowship.
At the Rouse Home, activities Director Amy Trask said, "We've had all types of musicians, dancers and puppet shows.
She said the Rouse Childrens' Center performed their Christmas show, the Youngsville High School Choir sang and the YMCA cheerleaders entertained residents.
Times Observer photo by Rob Andersen
Residents and staff of the Golden Living nursing home gathered for a caroling session on Friday. Area retirement and nursing facilities go the extra mile to make sure their residents feel at home, especially during the holidays.
In front from left are Casey and Shirley; second row from left, Norma, Karen, Paul and Joyce; third row, Crissy, Helen, Ned, Jean, Shirley, Eric and Deb; and standing in back is Carla.
On Tuesday, Dec. 17 they held an Open House for the public and "many, many families," with a Christmas tree contest. Photos of 13 decorated trees were displayed in the halls, and one with a patriotic theme was deemed the winner.
She said that Santa Claus and the Youth Connection kept everyone entertained. "It was quite a nice turnout," she added. "The families commented on how good it was.
"Every year on Christmas Eve each hall has a party, giving gifts just like they would at home," she said.
Earlier in the month, the Rouse held a "Santa sale," selling gifts under five dollars to the residents that they in turn can give to friends and family. The items in the sale are donated by local businesses like Blair, then wrapped by volunteers. Some of the staff members and community volunteers also buy or make gifts for residents.
On Christmas day, there will be another party, with plenty of refreshments and a raffle.
The Golden LivingCenter - Kinzua in Warren also keeps the holiday spirit alive for their residents. Debi LaJoy, activities director said, "We just had a huge Christmas ball. It was a tradition to have a live reindeer at our Christmas parties, but because of issues transporting deer across the border, we had to stop. Last year, we had a family Swedish Christmas with a goat."
She said there has been a multitude of carolers this year from many area churches, and madrigal singers from Warren Area High School and the First United Methodist Church in Warren.
During the Christmas Eve service, there will be a classical guitar recital by Jeremy Earnheardt and the Youth Connection singers will perform their Victorian carols.
Earnheardt said that performing at the nursing and retirement homes adds a "flavor" to the residents lives, especially at this time of year, and is something he really enjoys doing
Every third Wednesday throughout the year, violinist Josephine Simonsen and Deacon Joe Lucia of Holy Redeemer Church perform for the residents, and on December 18, they played strictly Christmas songs.
Community members will bring dogs in costume, to the delight of the residents, and Humane Society volunteer Jewel Rozanski will bring dogs from the shelter to visit.
LaJoy said that on Christmas day the residents will play dollar bingo, which they take seriously.
A maintenance worker at Watson Memorial Home makes wooden ornaments each year, and the residents decorate them to display in their rooms, according to Charlene Lane, assistant activities director.
She said that volunteers from Holy Redeemer Church brought home-made gifts, decorations made of cinnamon that smell wonderful.
"Each day the Watson cooks make a different Christmas cookies, no two alike," she added.
Music presented over the last few weeks have included hallway carolers from the First Assembly of God, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the WAHS Madrigals, Earnheardt's classical guitar and the Youth Connection dressed up as holiday characters like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.
Lane said there Christmas day dinner will be baked ham with squash, mashed potatoes with gravy and Jello.
A New Year's Eve party will be held at 10 p.m. on December 31, with non-alcoholic wine and party favors.