JACKSON, Mo. (KFVS) - Christmas looks different this year for those who live in assisted living facilities and nursing homes, but they’re still finding a reason to celebrate.
“This is our family and it’s been mine for almost three years,” said Jerry Nichols, a resident at the Villas of Jackson.
Nichols and his friends at the Villas of Jackson can’t go home for the holidays this year because of the pandemic.
“Normally I’d go to my sons but with COVID, I’m stuck here,” he said.
They’re still feeling the Christmas cheer.
“I’ve enjoyed it very much. It’s one of the nicest Christmases I’ve had. And I’ve had a long life and celebrated the birth of Christ,” said Lois Fehrmann, a resident at the Villas of Jackson.
“And I enjoyed yesterday. We had a good time,” said Nichols.
“There was just lots of laughter, lots of thank yous, lots of appreciation, and we had a great time,” said Christie Mason, Villas of Jackson Director of Marketing and Admissions.
Mason said the feeling of loneliness comes naturally over the holidays during a pandemic, but they work hard to keep everyone’s spirits high.
“We’ll do Facetiming with their family more, so just keeping them busy, knowing they are loved, they are cared for, and that we spend just as much time with them than we do our own families if not more on some days,” said Mason.
As Nichols fondly shared his memories of fishing with his son this time last year, he said he’s no stranger to being away from family on Christmas Day.
“I was a firefighter, and I worked quite a few of them, and I couldn’t get home, so at that time we had Christmas Eve we had Santa come,” said Nichols.
While loved ones may be miles away, Nichols and Fehrmann have special Christmas messages for them.
“I wish we could all be together, but I’m glad that we’re all healthy and we can enjoy our own families, and I love them very much,” said Fehrmann.
“Merry Christmas and sorry that I can’t be there to let you open your presents, but remember I’m watching,” said Nichols.
Fehrmann also plays Christmas songs before lunch on the piano to spread happiness during the holiday season.