Long-term care home residents get in the Christmas spirit with Grinch sing-along

·2 min read

COVID-19 restrictions in long-term care homes take a toll on everyone inside and outside the facilities. The residents are isolated, the employees are overworked, and the families miss their loved ones.

But one home in Prince Edward Island is trying to cushion the blow this holiday season by having a Christmas Grinch sing-along party with its residents.

Christina Linton, activities director at the Dr. John Gillis Memorial Lodge, said staff members dressed up in a Santa suit and other holiday costumes a few days before Christmas. They started singing, mischievously stealing Christmas ornaments and handing out snacks to the residents.

Submitted by Christina Linton
Submitted by Christina Linton

"We are under a lot of restrictions on long term care and we can't visit our loved ones the way we used to. And we also can't get hugs from them," she said.

"Despite those factors our families still love us and we still love them. And that's really the spirit of Christmas and the magic of the season that we want people to remember."

The residents smiled and sang along, Linton said, and one resident was so moved she started crying.

"She said it was the best Christmas present she ever had. So that really made the afternoon worth it," Linton said.

Submitted by Christina Linton
Submitted by Christina Linton

With all the dancing and singing, the employees still kept their masks on and kept their distance.

Linton said this year has been a challenge, as staff and residents adjusted to the new COVID-19 protocols.

"For many months, we had no visitors allowed. And that's hard on people," she said.

Submitted by Christina Linton
Submitted by Christina Linton

Linton said they're always trying to remind themselves and their residents that when it comes to the pandemic, they've been lucky in P.E.I.

"We've also been blessed that we're in a province where we haven't had any cases in long-term care and very few cases overall," she said.

She said they chose the Grinch story not only because it's a Christmas story, but also because the lesson the Grinch learns in that story can be applied to a Christmas during such a tough year.

"Just like the Whos in Who-ville, happiness is in your heart," Linton said.