December 19, 2008

Holiday Dinner a 'Labour of Love' at Personal Care Home

Holiday Dinner a 'Labour of Love' at Personal Care Home

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There's a bustle of activity surrounding the place settings and trimming in the eating area. People dressed in red velvet and white brimmed festive hats are whisking by with place settings and napkins in hand. The smell of turkey and simmering gravy is in the air. In the hallway a Christmas melody is played on the piano keeping spirits bright.

Sounds like a typical prairie home during Christmas. And for 250 residents at Misericordia Place and Misericordia Health Centre, that's how it should be.

It is one of many 'unheralded tasks' personal care home staff throughout the Winnipeg health region contribute to making their care environment a 'home within the home' during the holiday season. For many residents who cannot venture out into these cold climates, this is the holiday experience they cherish year after year.

Today is one of six special meals to be served to the residents throughout the month in celebration of the holidays. It's an exciting time for everyone at Misericordia Place and Misericordia Health Centre, and everyone pitches in to make these meals special for seniors, not only staff and management, but also retired staff, families of residents, even the residents themselves who help peel potatoes or make stuffing. Specialty foods are donated from staff or family, such as recreation facilitator Shery McManus' sour cream cookies, a traditional favourite.

"It's a labour of love," says Ellen Locke, Manager of Recreation at Misericordia Health Centre, who also works with dietary staff to ensure some meals are compatible with sensitive diets.

"All the senses are involved, the smells, the sound of the music, the touch of the staff or family members," adds Gail Vande Vyvere, resident care manager. "And the residents feel special, and you can tell because they do eat more this time of year, which is good for their health."

- Kelly Langevin

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