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Residents create their own Christmas parade

A group of residents at a Suffolk retirement community took the opportunity to create their own Christmas parades as more traditions are canceled.

The residents at Lake Prince Woods hosted a golf cart Christmas parade. While remaining in their personal golf cart, the residents were able to come together while keeping a safe distance.

With this demographic being the most susceptible to COVID-19, retirement communities like Lake Prince Woods are challenged to find ways to keep spirits lifted while also keeping everyone safe.

“We are trying to be creative right now,” said Alyssa Rogers, the marketing assistant for Lake Prince Woods. “With different types of residents living here, from independent living to assisted living, it’s hard to do safe events that everyone can take part in.”

Santa and Mrs. Claus led the parade as the decorated golf carts drove around the property by the assisted living and memory care to bring cheer to everyone on campus, whether they sat outside or by their window.

Each golf cart was uniquely decorated to celebrate the Christmas season. The carts were decked out with strands of garland, ornaments, snowflakes, wreaths, stockings, bows, candy canes and tiny Christmas trees.

One memorable golf cart was decorated by two residents who are spending their first Christmas at Lake Prince Woods, Tom and Kathy Queens. They had the fitting theme of “No Blue Christmas at Lake Prince Woods,” as their cart was embellished with every blue decoration one could find, complete with a small blue tree decorated in blue bows.

“We are very excited to be here and a part of the parade,” said Kathy Queens. “There’s always something going on around here. You can’t get depressed or blue here. Even with COVID, we social distance and wash hands and wear masks, and it’s still a happy place, just different.”

According to Judy Raymond, the executive director at Lake Prince Woods, the staff has led many outdoor activities to keep the residents’ spirits up. The facility purchased outdoor heaters to allow more outdoor seating for activities as the winter months start setting in. Residents have also participated in many walking group activities.

“Nothing is keeping them down,” said Raymond, noting the resilience of the residents during this challenging time.