Debbie Hommel's A.D. Tips
Dedicated to helping Activity Professionals with the daily operation of their department.
by Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC, CTRS, Executive Director of DH Special Services
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DEBBIE HOMMEL
Executive Director
DH Special Services
About Debbie

Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC,
CTRS, is the Executive
Director of DH Special
Services. She is a Certified
Activity Consultant on State
and National level, with over
twenty-seven years of
experience in providing direct
care and consultation to long
term care, medical day care,
assisted living, and ICF/MR
facilities throughout New
Jersey, New York, Maryland,
and Pennsylvania. She is an
experienced trainer and
workshop presenter,
conducting a variety of
seminars throughout the
Tri-State area for the Activity
Professional, Administrator,
and allied healthcare
professional. Debbie Hommel
is an active member of Activity
Professional Associations on
State and National levels. She
is ACC certified through the
NCCAP. She is a founding
member of the New Jersey
Activity Professionals'
Association, serving terms as
Vice President and President.
She received the Weidner
Lifetime Achievement Award
in 1994 and the Monmouth &
Ocean County Activity
Professionals Life
Achievement Award in 1999.
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The Joy of Giving
by Debbie Hommel, ACC/MC/EDU, CTRS

As we enter the time of year where gift giving is a common theme, it is helpful for the
activity professional to understand the complex emotional and psychological aspects of
the process.    Throughout our lives, even as children, we delight in finding the best gift
for our loved ones.  Giving a thoughtful gift is a symbol of our affection for the individual.   
Ellen J. Langer, a Harvard Psychology Professor, has done research on gift giving and
has found.  Giving to others reinforces our feelings for them and makes us feel effective
and caring.  The psycho-social effects of gift giving can have a positive impact on quality
of life.

Unfortunately, once residing in a long term care community, the resident has less
opportunity to “shop” for loved ones.  Residents often express sadness and loss over
their inability to participate in this aspect of the holiday season.  The activity department
can introduce opportunities throughout the holiday season for the resident to shop and
ready gifts to give to others.   Here are some ideas to foster gift giving on behalf of our
residents during the holiday season:
      -Make gifts for family members or loved ones.  Most people appreciate a good
photo in a frame.  Crafts programs can create picture frames out of old jigsaw puzzle
pieces or broken jewelry or mosaics.  A day could be devoted to taking “glamour shots”
of the residents to be placed in the frames.  Better yet, finding a nice candid photo of the
resident enjoying activities with their family member would make a great gift.  With
computer programs, decorative borders are easy to add to any photo.  
      -Another gift idea is to make ornaments for the holiday tree.  There are many simple
wooden holiday ornament crafts which can be decorated with a photo insert.  Invite the
family members to a tree decorating party and have them give their gift to the family at
that event.
      -Residents could make cookies and decorate boxes of cookies to give to the facility
volunteers.   Invite the volunteers to the holiday party and have the residents give the
cookie gifts to the volunteers personally.
      -Residents could make homemade dog biscuits and decorate them in holiday
bags to give to facility pets or pets at the local animal shelter.  Invite some of the
animals from the center to the facility to receive their gifts from the residents.
      -Residents could do fund raising to buy gifts for a local disadvantaged family.  A
specific family could be adopted by the residents and any money raised would be used
to buy gifts for these families.  The more able residents could go shopping at the local
Wal-Mart for the gifts, picking them out themselves.
      -Wooden toys could be made by the Men’s or crafts group.  Nice wooden trucks,
cars and other toys could be sanded and painted by the residents, to be give to
employee’s children or disadvantaged children.
      -Resident Council funds could be allocated to purchase toys for select children in
need from local church, foster care or family shelter.  Residents could take a trip to local
Toys R Us to shop for specifics from a list provided.
      -Make Christmas/holiday cards to send to the military, either at a local military base
or overseas.  Contact your local recruitment office for details.  
      -A gift wrapping day could be scheduled to involve the residents in wrapping gifts.    
Half the fun is the selection, preparation and actual giving of the gift to the person or
group, so let’s not leave that out.  The residents should have the opportunity to give the
gifts they have organized to the families, children or volunteers themselves.
May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!  
Author Unknown