By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

The focus of our blogs during this holiday season are on the favorite holiday memories and traditions of residents of the assisted living and memory care communities Gardant manages.

As Meghann Giarraputo, Gardant’s Director of Memory Care, noted in a recent Blog, asking your older adult loved ones about their favorite memories is one way to make the season more magical. Your loved ones will benefit from your time and attention; you will be filled with a cherished collection of their remembrances.

We highlight the memories and traditions of 11 residents:

Ernie, a 91-year-old resident of Cedar Grove assisted living in Parkersburg, West Virginia
I believed in Santa. One night in my room, I heard Santa and sneaked a peek.

Ula, a resident of Eagle Ridge affordable assisted living in Decatur, Illinois
On Christmas Eve, my family would go to my aunt’s house for the evening. When we arrived home, there would be presents around the tree. Then we would run outside to look for Santa. There would be big footprints in the snow, so we knew Santa had been there.

Judy, a resident of Heritage Woods affordable assisted living in Moline, Illinois
When I was young, we lived in Wisconsin and would travel to the Quad Cities where the rest of her family was. I enjoyed being with family and have many special memories of our Swedish heritage. We always celebrated my Grandmother’s birthday, which fell on Christmas. We would enjoy a traditional Swedish dish called Kroppkaka. It was a delicious potato and meat dinner.  We would decorate for the holidays with traditional Swedish angel chimes. The heat from the candles would twirl the angels and ring the chimes. We also had a lot of Christmas elves that we put out for holiday decorations.

Maxine, a resident of Summers Pointe assisted living in Winchester, Indiana
I always loved to give lots of presents. I really enjoy seeing everyone’s smiles and happy faces.

Flora, a 91-year-old resident of Heritage Woods of Chicago
Singing songs for the holidays.

Virginia, a 66-year-old resident of St. Anthony affordable assisted living in Lansing, Illinois
My favorite holiday memory is decorating the house and the Christmas tree. I also enjoyed shopping for the tree decorations with my parents. The excitement of decorating the whole house outside and inside. It was special to me because it was a family tradition, my mom, dad, two brothers and one sister. The look of the house lit up always put a smile on my face.

Anna, an 88-year-old resident of John Evans affordable assisted living in Pekin, Illinois
My Daddy playing violin for the whole family.

Charlotte, a 72-year-old resident of Heritage Woods of Chicago affordable assisted living
Spending Christmas with my son and going to my little brother’s holiday party.

Betty, a 90-year-old resident of Prairie Winds affordable assisted living in Urbana, Illinois
My Daddy was in the Calvary and every year the University of Illinois had a party for all the “Calvary children.” This was always my favorite party. I got my first Bambi book from the university.

Randolph, a 65-year-old resident of Oasis at 30th affordable assisted living in Indianapolis
My Mother’s birthday was on Christmas and every year we would celebrate her special day on Dec. 26th because she didn’t want to take away from the 25th being baby Jesus’ birthday and the joy she looked forward to seeing on the faces of her two sons. Mom’s reaction to getting her Christmas gift on Christmas Day and then the next day opening her birthday gifts was the best because her smile was everlasting. The entire family would come over to celebrate, eat and play cards all night with Dad playing his favorite card game in the basement.

Betty, a resident of Heritage Woods assisted living and memory care in Noblesville, Indiana
My mother passed away when I was born, and I grew up with a stepmother. My stepmother always told me how I would never amount to anything and was not good for anything. I married and three years later on Christmas Eve gave birth to our first child. A little boy. When they placed him in my arms, he was perfect and oh so beautiful. I then realized that my stepmother was wrong. I was worth something. I had made a perfect little boy. It was my best Christmas!

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