Local community brings Christmas cheer to Forest Hill

Letters, cards and a video of Girl Guides singing carols were sent to residents during the holidays

Although it was a different kind of Christmas at Forest Hill due to restrictions in place to keep residents and staff members safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the local community helped make the holiday season brighter for the Ottawa-area long-term care home’s residents.

St. Gabriel School, which is located near Forest Hill in Kanata, encouraged students to design homemade Christmas cards for Forest Hill residents. Just before the Christmas break, the school dropped off a box full of cards, and there was one for each of Forest Hill’s residents, says Craig Forrest, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

Students from another school, M.F. McHugh Education Centre in Ottawa, also made Christmas cards that were sent to Forest Hill residents.

“It really meant a lot to all the residents to get these homemade cards from the kids,” Craig tells The OMNIway.

A group of nursing students from the University of Ottawa took time to write letters to Forest Hill residents and send some Christmas cheer, and this gesture was also well-received, Craig says.

“(The nursing students) knew that our residents were going through a very difficult time, and they wanted to write Christmas greetings to them,” Craig says.

Every Christmas, a troop from the Girl Guides of Canada visits Forest Hill to sing carols for residents. With safety protocols in place, the Girl Guides were not able to visit this past holiday season, so instead members of the troop made videos of them singing.

The videos were compiled into a single video that was sent to Forest Hill. Staff members visited residents individually with a laptop computer to play the video for residents.

“It wasn’t the same (as a live performance), but at least the residents still got to experience the caroling, and they enjoyed that,” he says.

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Photo caption: Forest Hill resident Nancy Garmaise is pictured with a Christmas card she received during the holidays.