National Nursing Home Week brings an unusual occurrence to Jeanne Jugan Center. Come dinner time, while Residents are in the dining room enjoying a mid-day meal, employees can be seen sneaking around the halls with gifts, making sure not to get caught as they seize the perfect opportunity to leave a small surprise by a Resident’s room. This goes on daily until Friday, when the employees go get “their” Residents and bring them downstairs for a big meal in the mall area. Surprised laughter fills the air as everyone reveals their identity to their “secret pal.”
Having secret pals for National Nursing Home Week has become a tradition at Jeanne Jugan Center. Every year employees randomly draw a name of a Resident. Then they leave a small gift or treat for the Resident each day that week, being careful not to let them know who the gifts are from. The Residents look forward to their surprise each day, and many have said it brightens their day to know someone is thinking of them. Everyone ends the week with a picnic-style dinner in the mall area, and the employees eat with their Residents and visit.
“It’s a lot of fun,” says employee Vicki Kaiser. “I think the employees enjoy it as much as the Residents do.”
“It’s also nice to get to know the Residents better. Those of us who work in the business office don’t get to see the Residents as often as the rest of the staff does, so we really enjoy the chance to be able to spend time with them.”