Willows Estate employees don pajamas for holiday season

Willows Estate employees wore pajamas to work for three days over the Christmas holidays at the Aurora long-term care home.

Dreamy initiative a hit with residents and creates homier feeling: LEA

Seeing employees wearing pajamas to work recently was like a dream come true for residents of Willows Estate.

Instead of the usual scrubs, staff at the Aurora long-term care home wore bedclothes for three days during the holiday season.

Since people wear pajamas in their own homes, not scrubs, it made sense to life enrichment aide (LEA) Azaria Kanda that employees wore pajamas over Christmas to create a homier feel for the Aurora long-term care home residents.

Azaria dreamt up the idea, received approval from the administrator and then extended the invitation to all staff. The three days were a hit with residents, the LEA tells The OMNIway.

“Not every resident gets family members coming to visit on Christmas and New Year’s and I thought…we could all get together in the spirit of the holidays and help them celebrate,” Azaria says.

He was seeking something light and cheerful and thought of dressing in his pajamas. He realized it would be great if all caregivers could do the same for residents.

“For them to come in relaxed mode, in pajamas, (it would) truly help get that home feeling full-speed. They would really feel even more-so the warmth of the holidays,” Azaria says of his rationale.

The initiative also reinforced the fact “caregivers are part of the home and those caregivers have really become part of the family.”

Azaria put up a notice prior to Christmas, inviting staff to dress down for work on Dec. 24, 25 and 26. “I was overwhelmingly surprised” about the buy-in from staff and even the home’s physician took part.

“It was a collective effort of every department. Everybody was in full pajama-mode.”

The residents enjoyed the change. “Oh my gosh, they were ecstatic. They were over-the-moon and so happy,” Azaria says.

“It gave the caregivers a chance to not have that uniform look and to be less institutionalized for three days.”

He says the scrubs create more of a clinical feel and residents pick up on that fact. This helped them feel more at home, which is particularly important at Christmas time, the LEA adds.

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