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Planning a holiday visit

December 2, 2013
by Kathleen Mears
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My holidays in a nursing home can be difficult. Every year I wonder if we will have enough staff on hand. Possibly those who do work might be out of sorts because they want to be home for the holiday. I have dealt with the holiday situation long before I moved to a nursing home. I always had to be concerned about who would care for me on these occasions.

For the past few years, I have visited my sister at her home the weekend after Thanksgiving. But with no ramp it was difficult to get me inside. I had to get into my manual chair and be bumped up the steps, which I did not mind but I felt bad because those who helped me were over 60 years old. I did not want to be the cause of someone’s injury.

For last year's Thanksgiving celebration my sister and I met at a restaurant halfway between her home and the nursing home. I could get in easily there, have a midday dinner and visit without being concerned about steps. We enjoyed our time together and I was able to get back to the nursing home at a convenient time for me and the staff.

This year, however, our celebration will be different. My sister has downsized and she and her husband now live in an apartment. There are no steps so I can roll right in from the parking garage. Even so, I feel nervous about visiting.

My sister wanted me to come on Thanksgiving Day, but I had no one to transport me. We considered how busy it would be for the aides because the facility’s Thanksgiving meal is at noon. In addition, some residents go out and return later on, which can make the day more hectic. For those reasons and heavy traffic, Thanksgiving Day was ruled out.

If all goes as planned, our Thanksgiving celebration will be this coming Sunday. A friend who lives 90 miles away is picking me up and taking me to my sister's. My sister lives more than 50 miles from the nursing home so it will be a bit of a trip.


I am getting mentally ready for the "over the river and through the woods" journey. Since I need to leave at 9:45 a.m., I hope there is sufficient staff to get me ready on time. I hope to have an uncomplicated morning which will allow me to be more relaxed when I travel. Then when I arrive I can enjoy dinner and visit with my family. After dinner my friend will take a nap so he will be clear-eyed for our drive back.

Long distance visiting takes effort on everybody's part, but it is always worth it.



Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...