Back at Halloween, it was an extra mile sort of thing for an Iowa nursing home to treat residents to an entertaining holiday-themed "Booze & Tattoos" event. Costumes, temporary tattoos, and a drink or two to take the edge off.

Residents thoroughly enjoyed that isolation-breaking, all-in-good-fun activity so much that staff at Rose Haven stepped up again with a meaningful gift for the Christmas/New Year's holiday season. A voice for radio wasn't needed, just a voice filled with love and the familiarity to brighten your loved one's day.

I've had a hard time reading the stories throughout the pandemic about older folks in these facilities not being able to properly visit with their loved ones because of social distancing. It's heart-wrenching but it was an emotional project for staff and residents alike to craft and receive custom Build-a-Bears before Christmas. Through help from the Build-a-Bear Workshop at Coral Ridge Mall, sponsors including Keystone Savings Bank, the Santa for a Senior program, Facebook followers, and families, each personalized bear came with voice recordings.

The family of a former resident donated much of the funding for the project. It's a beautiful idea. Rose Haven Nursing Home is in Marengo, Iowa and we applaud them for their superb creativity in making special memories for those in their care in these trying and difficult times.

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