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Remembering aides at Christmas

December 23, 2013
by Kathleen Mears
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In both of the nursing homes where I have lived residents and resident families were told not buy Christmas gifts for the nursing home staff, particularly the aides. I understood the reasoning for that rule. But during the holidays I saw fresh fruit, cookies or candy arrive for the staff. I never knew who sent them. But I think there might have been an anonymous gift of appreciation from resident families for the staff.

I did not like that I was not allowed to give the aides even a small gift. I tried to make my room festive so it would be a bit of a respite for them.

One year close to Christmas while shopping on the Internet, I placed an order that included two of my favorite lip balms. When my package arrived and the aides were putting it away for me, I was shocked to see 22 lip balms instead of 2. I realized I made an error while ordering by pushing the 2 key twice.

I considered sending 20 of them back, but I decided it would not be worth it. Then it came to me. I realized I could give each aide on my unit a tube of lip balm as a Christmas gift. Many of the aides already use liberal amounts of it, especially in winter.

I kept my idea quiet and in early December I had a friend put the lip balms in a bag by my computer. Then I told the aides they could take one as a Christmas gift if they wanted. They seemed surprised and pleased. I never got any negative feedback from management about my decision.

That started a tradition. Each year I get lip balm for the aides. Some years I can find all kinds of different flavors. Other years I can only find regular flavor. But I do enjoy giving them something.

The aides who give us great care deserve so much more.

Happy holidays!


Kathleen Mears

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