Christmas may still be about presents, but for some of us, there really isn’t anything we need or want. So what’s a gift-giver to do?
This year think about using that cash stash to make the holiday merry for the less fortunate or those who may no longer have family or friends near.
There are plenty of opportunities organized to help Rim Country youngsters in need, but providing a merry Christmas for the elderly in area care centers requires a little more hands-on effort.
“The greatest gift anyone can give our residents is time and warm attention,” said Kay Chasse, who coordinates activities for Powell House.
While most residents have family and friends with whom to share part of the holidays, there are those who have no one.
The staff of Payson Care Center, Ponderosa Manor-Veterans Helping Veterans, Powell House and Rim Country Health do what they can for their residents during the holidays, help from residents, clubs and organizations, school and church groups is always welcome.
The Review visited with Chasse and her counterparts to see what kind of help would be most beneficial.
Payson Care Center
Carla Molina is the new activities coordinator for Payson Care Center, 107 E. Lone Pine Dr., Payson. She said there are quite a few Native American residents and their families are really too far away to spend much time with them.
“We have one woman who used to be weaver and quite a number of residents who are artistic, so any kind of arts and crafts kits would be welcome,” she said. Yarn for those who like to weave and fat quarters and other material for the several residents who like to quilt and other art supplies would be nice, Molina said.
Slippers are a good gift. Some residents are actually homeless now, so would appreciate clothing or even a blanket to call their own, she said.
Molina said there are a number of former cowboys who are residents at Payson Care so if someone would like to bring music, they’d appreciate country music and western movies. She added the Native American residents might enjoy their traditional music or contemporary takes on it, such as the recordings of R. Carlos Nakai and similar artists.
Molina said any size group of carolers would be appreciated too. “We can schedule them in advance or they can just show up. We have an open door policy and wouldn’t turn anyone away.”
Give her a call at (928) 474-6896 to get on the activities schedule. Payson Care is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday for visiting groups and non-family individuals.
Molina said the facility is also in need of a Santa for the holiday, so call her if you can help out – they already have a suit, she added.
Ponderosa Manor – Veterans Helping Veterans
“We are really a homeless shelter,” said Misti Isley DeCaire, founder and operator of Ponderosa Manor – Veterans Helping Veterans, 212 W. Wade Lane, Payson. There are about 20 residents at Ponderosa Manor right now.
So, anything that could be of use to those without their own homes would be of use. She suggested white socks, which everyone can wear; new underwear and slippers for men’s sizes 7 to 13; and new or gently used clothing.
“They need to say what size the clothing is on the outside so we can give it to those it will fit,” she said.
Toiletry sets would also be appreciated, she said.
Carolers can entertain in the dining room and if someone – a family or group – wanted to take on preparing Christmas dinner for the residents and staff that would be especially appreciated. Ponderosa Manor is operated without any federal funding; it has relied strictly on donations.
To learn more, call DeCaire at (928) 474-3920.
Residents at Powell House love bingo – they play it at least three times a week and would play it everyday if there were volunteer callers, according to Kay Chasse, activities coordinator for the facility, which is at 806 W. Longhorn Rd., Payson.
So, if you have the voice for it and some free time, give Chasse a call to arrange a bingo visit this holiday season or any time.
Time for the residents is the best gift, she said. If you can, bring a bright, pretty Christmas card and sit and visit with them – ask them to tell you about their favorite Christmas and what made it their favorite, she suggested. Another way just to spend time with residents is to have them play a board game with which they are familiar or card games like Uno, gin rummy or something simple. “If they can’t remember all the rules, you can always guide them through it,” Chasse said.
Another activity she suggested was bringing in a small batch of homemade cookies and letting some of the residents help decorate them. Small holiday decorations that they can help arrange would also be nice, Chasse said.
She stressed that any gift brought to residents should be brightly and prettily wrapped – the package is sometimes as important as the gift, she said.
Some things that would be appreciated: a lightweight shawl or throw; candy and chocolates, including sugar free, to be shared with others; small baskets or boxes of small fruit or the gift boxes with small jars of jams and jellies; stretch exercise bands and light (1-pound), soft wrist band weights; soft cloth (closed) sacks of rice or buckwheat or something similar to toss in the microwave to heat up and put under the covers at the foot of their beds to keep their feet warm at night.
Almost all of the ladies at Powell House love costume jewelry, Chasse said. The men would appreciate nice aftershave, thermal undershirts and warm, plain socks. All the residents would enjoy a new set of towels and washcloths; non-greasy hand lotions such as Neutrogena or several made by Avon; or a new calendar with big boxes in which to make notes and pretty pictures, along with easy-grip pens.
“Another thing many would like would be a gift certificate or two with the Senior Center van to go see the Christmas lights,” Chasse said. She added she thinks the cost is just $3.
A number of musical programs have been scheduled already, including a concert by Cinnamon Twist (Anne James and Jennifer Baltz) at 12:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 21.
The schedule at Powell House stays pretty full, but there is always a way to fit someone in, Chasse said. She would especially appreciate volunteer visitors arranging something for around 5:30 p.m. “Only a few residents have the energy for something at that time, but it would still be nice if we could offer them something,” she said.
If someone is good with a camera, the residents love to have the pictures taken with their friends and family, but the names and when/why the photo was taken needs to be written on the back, she said.
Call Chasse at (928) 978-5587 to arrange a visit or program for Powell House residents. If she doesn’t answer, leave a message.
Rim Country Health
“Just about all we do around here is eat and have parties,” said Marie Mennen, who has coordinated activities at Rim Country Health for about nine years. The facility is at 807 W. Longhorn Rd., Payson.
So, there is a pretty broad range of things individuals and groups can do for residents during the holidays – or any time.
A number of caroling programs have been planned, but more would be welcome.
Mennen would like to see neighbors sponsor simple arts and crafts projects for residents – bring in the supplies and give guidance or the facility could help provide the supplies.
They’d also appreciate someone bringing in homemade cookies for residents to help decorate, she said.
Bring in a Christmas movie for them to watch or if you play a musical instrument, arrange a little concert. Mennen said there is a woman who plays the harp coming in to perform for residents in December.
She said hobby demonstrations are also welcome, as are visits from those with exotic or trained animals. Following the rodeo this past August, she invited someone to bring a horse to the facility, then started making some other calls and wound up practically having a parade in the parking lot with horses of all sizes.
To arrange a visit with residents at Rim Country Health during the holidays, give Mennen a call at (928) 474-1120.
All of the facilities are open to just about anything anyone would like to share for the holidays. The suggestions here are just that, suggestions. If they feel right to you, take them on; if not, offer other ideas of your own.
Adopt a Senior Christmas Angel
Another way to help the Rim’s older residents in need is to participate in the Senior Angel program.
Stop by any Edward Jones branch office during regular business hours to select a Senior Angel tag now through Friday, Dec. 14.
Shop for your selected senior and then drop off the gifts, which Edward Jones staff will deliver to Payson/Pine area seniors in need.
Branch locations are: 411 S. Beeline Highway, Ste. B, and 113 W. Main St. in Payson and 4010 N. Highway 87 in Pine.