By Alexander Germanis
Although the date on the calendar remains in the same spot, Christmas seems to come earlier each year. But as the years mount, we tend to focus more and more on the true meaning of Christmas and find our joy in those things that matter most.
At Apostolic Christian Home of Eureka, the residents and staff look forward to Christmas as a time of giving, not receiving; a time to express goodwill and love to all; a time to spend with friends and family; and, most importantly, a time to reflect on the birth of Christ.
The Gift of Health
This September, Apostolic Christian Home of Eureka opened a new therapy gym for inpatient and outpatient skilled therapy that includes a fitness club called Six Ten Fitness, with monthly memberships available to the 60 and up age group.
“Our goal is to provide the opportunity for the 60 plus individuals from our community to exercise,” says Administrator Kim Joos. “Each member receives an evaluation from a physical therapist (from Professional Therapy Services) and then an individualized exercise program is developed.”
Besides the convenience of the gym, residents can exercise alongside those of similar age, rather than having to share a facility with scores of young athletes. Plus, a fitness aide is always on duty to monitor and provide instruction.
Exercise becomes even more important the older one gets as it can actually “reduce or prevent many functional declines associated with growing older,” states the National Institute on Aging. A seemingly simple thing like maintaining muscle strength throughout the body improves one’s balance thereby preventing falls, aids in performing routine daily activities, relieves lower back pain, and aids in recovery from injuries, illness, and surgeries.
Within Six Ten Fitness, HUR’s special pneumatic strength training technology is in use. By using air pressure resistance rather than traditional steel weights, it is a highly safe, customizable, comfortable, and non-intimidating way to get and stay fit.
“This equipment comes with wristbands loaded with the members’ information for each piece of HUR equipment,” Kim explains. “The member swipes their wristband on the screen of the equipment and it loads their workout information. It also monitors their progress so adjustments can be made as the member’s strength increases. We also have the typical treadmill, exercise bike, medicine balls, etc.”
The Gift of Self
A longer, healthier life is certainly a priceless gift, especially when it means residents can continue to share themselves with their friends, families, and the community.
“Due to the age of our residents and their life experiences, they are at the stage where they are much more interested in giving than getting,” Kim says. “Because of this it is easy to focus on the Reason for the Season. Our Bible studies and church services in December focus on the Christmas story. We also like to give the residents opportunities to give back to others through programs like packing snack packs for school children. This year we plan to do a Jesse tree where you add one ornament to a Christmas tree each day and have a daily Christmas devotion touching on the spirit of Christmas.”
“We encourage residents to share special Christmas memories and stories from their past,” she continues. “It is so fun to hear about the Christmas memories from their childhood days.”
As family and friends come to visit during the season, spaces within the community are often reserved for family get-togethers and dinners. Residents’ families also decorate a number of Christmas trees around the Home and make displays for individuals residents to place on their door or in their room. “Our Home looks very festive at Christmas!” Kim happily shares. “Many families also bring treats in for the staff to enjoy.”
The activity, the selfless acts of service, visitations from friends and family, and of course the Christmas dinner, all have the power to raise the spirits throughout the Home. “It is a time of sharing and caring for each other,” Kim declares.
The Gift of Time
More money can be earned, lost possessions can be replaced, but once time is gone, it is gone forever. That is why it is the most precious commodity and the greatest gift that can be given and shared.
“Our staff loves and cares for each resident,” Kim proudly states. “If a resident doesn’t have family to visit or call, the staff will spend extra time with them, including reminiscing about their Christmases past or sharing stories from the staff members’ children and other family members. I really feel the residents can feel the love of Christ and the true Spirit of Christmas in the atmosphere of our Home and do not feel alone. Also, the families establish relationships with other residents and frequently include them in their visits.”
Extending that Spirit of Christmas are several groups from the Eureka community. Several church groups from the area come to ACHE to sing Christmas carols to the residents. A local Girl Scout troop and second graders from the Eureka elementary school will be coming in to play Christmas Bingo with the residents. “The young and older both enjoy getting a small prize for winning a Bingo game!” Kim reveals.
Every day is busy in December at ACHE. “We focus our weekly craft and cooking sessions on Christmas in December,” explains Kim. “The residents will be making chocolate-dipped candy canes, cheese balls, Christmas punch, covered Oreos, and puppy chow.”
Plus there are the Christmas events. “We take residents to see the Festival of Lights in East Peoria,” she adds. “We also offer a shopping trip for residents to purchase Christmas gifts for their friends and family. Additionally, residents are invited to attend a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service at local churches.”
“Our biggest Christmas event is the resident Christmas dinner held a few days before the holiday,” Kim continues. “Each resident can invite two guests to eat the noon meal with them. We have a special dinner focused on the season with special decorations and delicious holiday food. We read the Christmas story from the Bible together and sing Christmas carols. Our staff signs up to purchase a gift for a resident. So, at the end of the Christmas dinner we distribute a Christmas gift from a staff member to each resident. It is so neat to see the excitement from the residents and staff alike as the gifts are opened.”
Apostolic Christian Home for the Holidays
This Christmas, the words written by the prophet Isaiah about the Lord Jesus Christ ring especially true for the residents and staff of ACHE. “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength” (Isaiah 40:29).
Whether through physical therapy and exercise, spiritually uplifting activities, or simply expressing the love of Christ for everyone around, Apostolic Christian Home of Eureka is a community growing ever stronger.
“Merry Christmas from the residents and staff of the Apostolic Christian Home of Eureka! May the peace of God be in your heart this Christmas season and all year long!”
To learn more about Apostolic Christian Home of Eureka please visit www.each.org or call 309-467-2311.