Staff working hard to provide joy to residents of Veteran’s home

Holidays provide challenge for both staff and residents
Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 9:02 AM CST
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The campus of the Central Nebraska Veteran’s Home is still closed, meaning there won’t be any volunteer groups, carolers or family visitors during the holidays.

That fact has forced the staff to be more proactive and creative than before to ensure the residents are engaged and getting some connection and interaction during what is an inherently difficult time of year for residents of veterans homes.

“A lot of our members don’t have family or family close by so we spend much of December doing a lot of activity programming to brighten their days,” Nancy Klimek, the Director of Recreation at the Veteran’s Home, said.

Klimek says she and her coworkers have planned more Christmas-themed events in-house rather than going out in the community or letting different groups enter the facility. The staff even loaded the residents on some buses one night to drive around looking at Christmas lights.

“I think the holidays are always a challenge just because when a person leaves their home and is now in a nursing home facility they reminisce,” Klimek said. “We encourage that about all the great gatherings they’ve had in years past so its always a little melancholy just because of that reason.”

The community in Kearney has been sending Christmas cards to the residents which of course brings some smiles and joy. In a year that has brought a drastic lack of connection and interaction, Klimek believes anything she and the staff can do to ease any discomfort or sadness is a bright spot.

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