At Glendale nursing home, ‘a very special day’
Facility's annual party lifts spirits of residents and staff alike
GLENVILLE Hours before the annual Christmas party began at Schenectady County’s Glendale Home, resident Helen DeLorenzo, 95, sat waiting in the party room admiring the festive lights and pile of presents placed neatly under the tree.
“Helen hasn’t moved all morning,” said Pam DeAngelis, activities assistant at Glendale Home. “Once she saw the presents coming in, I told her Santa already came, and she hasn’t moved. She is still sitting there, waiting.”
For more than 20 years, the Glendale Home has held a Christmas party for residents and has made sure every resident receives a gift. This year’s celebration was held Monday, with each of the home’s five units hosting its own party and nearly 190 residents attending.
Many residents squealed with joy as they unwrapped their gifts, especially DeLorenzo. According to DeAngelis, for some residents, this will be the only gift they receive this holiday season. The gifts included blankets, stuffed animals, clothing and even cookies.
DeLorenzo received three new colorful blouses along with some lotion and body spray. One of the nurses held the shirts up as DeLorenzo smiled, admiring her new wardrobe. She bragged to the residents at her table she had not one, but three new shirts.
“I got three of them,” she said. “I love it. They are all pretty.”
According to DeAngelis, most of the gifts for the annual Christmas party are donated.
“Everybody is just so giving here this time of year,” she said.
Santa’s helpers, Matthew DeAngelis, Briana Denny and Samantha Denny, all 10, were busy during the party, passing out gifts, cookies and eggnog. But for Matthew DeAngelis, his favorite moment came after all the presents were distributed.
“Watching them open the presents,” he said.
The party included Christmas music and a visit from Santa, who helped pass out presents or stopped by to say hello. Each party room was decorated with lights, festive bows and of course, a tree.
Baked goods were eaten almost as quickly as they were received. According to DeAngelis, most of the baked goods were made by the staff.
“We all bake,” she said. “All the aides, all the nurses on the units bring in baked goods.”
Certified nurse assistant Mary Aron makes homemade fudge and cookies every year just for the occasion. She said the party is her favorite time of the year.
“The residents enjoy it,” Aron said. “I like to watch them have something homemade.”
Aron said many of the residents do not have family. That makes this Christmas celebration extra important.
Tracie Denny, director of activities, agreed.
“Christmas is such a special time of year and it really brings everyone together,” she said. “It is a very special day.”
For Denny, seeing how happy the event makes the residents is what makes the day so special for her.
As a resident calls her over to thank her for the party, Denny lights up.
“That is what it is all about,” she said.