BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — At StoryPoint in Waterville, the staff strives to create as welcoming and comfortable of a home environment as they can, and that means they never skimp on festive decor.
In the fall, the senior living facility was decorated for the residents to enjoy the colorful season of harvest; and for December, the building has been fully adorned for Christmas.
“We strive here to make our residents feel at home. This is their home, and we just take care of their home. We make it what they want and at Christmas they can’t decorate, so we do it for them,” said maintenance lead Cindy Kruczkowski.
Both Kruczkowski and housekeeping lead Denise Walden were praised by residents for the displays they have created around the exterior of the building.
StoryPoint resident Dorothy Stanton said she was impressed by the time and effort the staff had put into the building and creating a beautiful display residents can see whenever they enter the building – and even from the windows in their rooms.
Executive director Belinda Dejonghe said the residents and their families are regularly stopping to thank the staff for the decorations and the time they put into it.
“For some of our residents, this is the hardest time of year. So, even inside of the building, we have it decorated all throughout because we want to make sure December is enjoyable for them and maybe help them get through the tough times,” Dejonghe said.
Inside the building, there are displays at nearly every sitting area for residents to enjoy. Around the big Christmas tree is a fireplace and extra seating, where staff members regularly find residents enjoying their evenings, Dejonghe said. The big tree’s decorations were selected with residents in mind, too.
Dejonghe said many had asked for traditional colors – red, green and gold – to adorn the tree, so new ornaments were purchased to fit that preference.
Walden said every resident she comes across is pleased with the displays.
“They couldn’t wait to see what we did with the Christmas stuff,” Walden said.
Outside, both the front and back entrances are covered in lights and greenery that Kruczkowski and Walden carefully placed. The wreaths, Kruczkowsi said, were all handmade by Walden’s daughter, Melissa Blair.
“She really needs to be acknowledged for it. Every wreath is identical,” Kruczkowski praised.
The duo also credited the rest of the staff for creating a festive environment every season – from the indoor and outdoor decorations to the food to the activities.
“We’re one team and if we can get it done, we do it and we all come together as one team for our residents,” Kruczkowski said.
Walden said it makes them happy to decorate the facility even if it means several trips to the store and long hours. Kruczkowski said the two spent more than 30 days preparing and decorating the exterior of the building before Walden and Dejonghe then helped other staff decorate the inside.
“We keep talking about adding on. It’s bigger every year. Next year will be even better,” Walden pledged.
That’s the goal: creating the best environment they can for their residents, Dejonghe said.
“After Cindy and Denise spent so much time doing the front and turned the lights on, seeing the enjoyment you see in the residents’ faces is what feeds us,” Dejonghe said.
To create a welcoming environment, there are fireplaces and twinkling strands of light to warm up the place, along with Christmas music and movies playing throughout the building and little baskets of candy canes for residents and visitors to grab.
There’s even a dedicated candy tree at the reception area for everyone who passes by to pull a candy cane off the tree.
Everything was thought out carefully to please the residents and their families, with the staff dedicating extra time to make the holiday season special.
“This isn’t a job for us,” Kruczkowski stated. “We love being here. We love walking around and seeing the smiles on our residents’ faces.”