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Keeping the Season Bright

By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith/ Community columnist

The joyous holiday season is ringing in! While the world prepares their holiday tables and searches the attic for Christmas decorations, nursing homes and assisted livings around the globe are planning on a slightly different holiday season this year. During November and December, nursing homes usually see droves of Thanksgiving visitors and Christmas carolers. This year, COVID-19 has replaced that merriment with isolation and obstacles. However, obstacles have turned into a motivation to refashion nursing homes’ stimulation and how “season greetings” might reach residents of assisted livings in new ways. Just as Cindy Lou Who defeated the coldness of the Grinch, Gardens of Clanton administrator Vicki Moseley also plans to spread the warm spirit of Christmas farther this year.

“This year, we are really making an extraordinary effort to transform the inside and the outside of our building with more Christmas lights and decorations than ever before,” Moseley said. “Our living and dining rooms are going to have so many lights that you can’t help but smile and feel your spirits lifted. It will look like Calloway Gardens when it’s complete!”

The Gardens of Clanton usually receives special guests during the holiday season, such as The Peach Queens, senators, state representatives and Christmas carolers. Although the campus cannot receive outside guests for an event, Moseley is already planning for Facebook Live video caroling with a new 65-inch television and an additional sound bar that will amplify sound for an in-person experience.

Moseley also encourages the community to reach out to residents in other ways by sending Christmas cards, wrapped baked goods, fruit and candy. This year, the Gardens of Clanton has received letters from around the country during a pen pal, letter-writing campaign and encourages individuals to keep sending them.

“Residents have received cards and pictures from as far away as Texas and Washington,” Moseley said. “It has been tremendous.”

Moseley is planning the annual Christmas party which will include gift swapping and children caroling on a live Facebook feed. Each resident will receive a stuffed stocking of their favorite items and a visit from Santa.

“We will have a Santa if I have to do it myself!” Moseley said.

Currently, visitors are allowed to visit their loved ones on the porch, three people at a time or inside at a table, two people at a time. According to new state and corporate office guidelines, residents are permitted to leave the campus but must wear a mask at all times, continuously sanitize and quarantine in their rooms for five days upon their return. If they have been away from the facility for longer than 12 hours residents must be tested for COVID-19.