By Charlie M. Holmes
---- — There is no place like home for the holidays, but when that is not possible, why not bring the family or spirit to you?
That is what those at the Otsego Manor try to do during the holiday season.
For those unfamiliar with the Otsego Manor, it is not exactly run like most nursing homes.
“We don’t have a dining hall,” the events and activities coordinator, Amy Rose, said. “That can be so noisy.”
Instead, the Otsego Manor divides its 174 residents into five neighborhoods, and within each neighborhood, there are three households.
“There’s maybe 10 to 12 residents dining at a time in an open kitchen/living room area that has an island in between it,” Rose said.
Breakfast at The Manor is served during a four-hour time period, which allows residents to get up when they want, and the room where the meal is being prepared is very close to the resident’s bedrooms.
“It’s the smells that help you want to wake up,” Rose explained. “You smell coffee. You hear people moving around. I think that kind of encourages people to want to get up and come out.”
The Manor goes to great lengths to mimic the feeling of being at home. It’s an idea they stick with even during the holiday season.
“They can have as many family members as they want here,” Rose said.
The Manor is able to accommodate the extra people because of the kitchen/living room floor plan.
“You can easily, like at home, rearrange your room -- set up a buffet table or a banquet table,” Rose said.
The Manor does ask family members to make reservations for Thanksgiving and to help offset the cost of the extra food by either paying a small fee or bringing a dish to pass.
After Thanksgiving is over residents of The Manor compile a list of three items they would like for Christmas and the lists are given to the congregation at St. Mary’s.
“The intention is that one of the items on the list will be purchased, but more often than not, all three of the items on the list are given to the residents,” Rose said. “I’m so impressed with the churches in our area. It gives you hope in mankind when you see that so many people come out and really support the nursing home.”
Each household at The Manor has its own Christmas tree that the members of the household decorate. There’s also a special Christmas tree in the lobby at The Manor.
“It’s a memory tree,” Rose said. “We make paper cut angel ornaments and hang them on the tree.”
Each ornament has the name of a person who has passed away written on it in calligraphy. The ornaments cost $10. The money raised goes toward the life enrichment program at The Manor.
On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, the Otsego Manor will be holding a craft and bake sale from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. The sale will be held in the lobby and the money raised will also go to the life enrichment program. For those who would like to support the life enrichment program through a donation or by purchasing an ornament for the Memory tree, checks should be made out to “Otsego Manor.” The envelope should be marked to the attention of Amy Rose and mailed to:
128 Phoenix Mills Road
Cooperstown, NY 13326
People are asked to write “life enrichment” or the name that should appear on the memory tree ornament in the memo area of the check.
Rose also encourages anyone who would like to perform at The Manor to contact her at 544-2699.