SunnyBrook creates holiday scene for residents with towering trees
Making the holidays happy for residents of the SunnyBrook Assisted Living Center in Fairfield is worth working for, according to manager Judy Qualters.
“We want our residents to have the best Christmas ever,” she said. “We create that for them with the lights, the decorations, the music, the smell of someone making pumpkin pie when you walk into the building and the spirit of Christmas itself.”
Christmas trees have decorated the halls of both the assisted living and SunnyBrook Living Care Center each year, but this holiday season founder and owner Betty Howell has taken extra care with decorations.
“We wanted our trees to look like ones you’d see in Macy’s or Nordstroms, just absolutely gorgeous,” said Qualters, who said she was Howell’s “gopher” during the project.
Howell designed and decorated nine trees in all, five in assisted living and four in the living care center. The tallest of the trees is nearly two stories high.
In assisted living, Howell placed the trees at the head of each hallway and of the dementia unit so residents could see all of them from the main lobby. Next, she went through catalogues carefully selecting different colored ornaments for each tree.
When the planning was done, Howell spent three full days decorating them all.
“She stayed from early in the morning until late at night,” said Qualters.
It has proven a worthy endeavor, as Qualters said residents have been eager make the trip to each hallway to admire the trees.
“They’re just amazed at how beautiful they are,” she said. “They each have their special one, there’s blue, red, a white one — They’re all different and unique.”
Qualters, who has been manager for five months, is putting her own spin on the center’s Christmas parties this year.
She has planned an employee-resident Christmas party where she will give each of the 56 residents a small gift and have them decorate cookies shaped like reindeer.
“I’m the new manager here and I wanted to do something that I felt the residents would enjoy,” she said.
She saitd she wanted to give residents a chance to celebrate with the facility’s staff. The center also will invite residents’ families for a potluck Christmas dinner.
“I’ve talked with several residents,” she said. “They love Christmas and think it is the best holiday.”