Despite the Pandemic, Harrogate Found a Way to Create the Holiday Spirit for Its Residents

Posted on December 16, 2020 By

The holiday season can be tough on senior citizens, but this year is more complicated because of COVID. COVID has made many feel isolated and lonely during this time of year in which family is often the focal point. The staff at Harrogate, a Life Plan Community, 400 Locust Street, Lakewood, realized that many of their residents would be spending this holiday season alone without anyone.

Gianna Garrow, director of health center activities, envisioned Winter Wonderland, a way to capture the spirit of the season. Staff members from every department transformed Harrogate into a holiday escape that would make Buddy the elf proud. Staff members from activities, nursing, environmental services, dining services, grounds grew, maintenance, and marketing created a magical experience for their residents, focusing on ensuring COVID regulations and social distancing. Sharon Budde, assistant activities director, came up with the idea to create a path through the dining room with stops along the way.

Although the entire facility is decorated inside, many feel the shining star is the dining room. As residents walk through the path, they can experience joyful displays, created by the staff and their families. Andy Budde, the husband of Sharon Budde, built some of the displays. Joe Alonzo, director of dining services, created a gingerbread Time’s Square, and Annie from housekeeping, created a cozy “fire pit” for holiday favorites like Santa, elves, and snowmen.

While the pandemic has kept many apart, Harrogate found a way to bring everyone together during the season of giving. Trees were donated by friends and families, and each department created its own section. Because of COVID regulations, the Winter Wonderland Tour is only open to residents; however, the public can take a virtual tour through January on Harrogate’s Facebook page and see how it all came together at

Gloria Walsh, associate executive director, said, “We may be apart this holiday season, but at Harrogate the holiday spirit is alive and thriving for our residents with help from caring staff and families.”

For more information, contact Keenan Masterson, marketing assistant, 732-608-4080.

About Harrogate: The 52-acre, not-for-profit senior retirement community Harrogate, 400 Locust Street, Lakewood offers 253 apartment homes with styles that range from studios to two bedrooms with two baths, a spacious patio or balcony, fully equipped kitchens, individual storage areas, ample parking, private garages, and gardening areas. A percentage of the one-time entrance fee is refundable to you or to your estate.
The pet-welcoming community with independent living, life care, and health services, such as skilled nursing or rehab, provides comprehensive services and amenities, including housekeeping, cooking, maintenance, most utilities, Wi-Fi, onsite banking, a convenience store, fitness center with a certified personal trainer, a woodworking shop, walking trails, bocce courts, putting greens, shuffleboard, an arts and crafts studio, and activities with classes, events, speakers, concerts, and trips. For more information call 732-905-7070 or email