How Giving Thanks Improves Our Elder Care Community

At Provision Living at St. Louis Hills, we follow three core philosophies. We want to give our residents and care partners a sense of purpose that encourages them to live up to their potential. We want to maintain connection to families and the greater community. And we want to promote the comprehensive well-being of each and every resident.

Recently we participated in an activity that speaks to all three of these objectives yet is remarkably simple in its concept. It’s called the Tree of Thanks. It begins with a silhouette of a tree that we place on the wall our lobby. Residents, care partners and visitors are then encouraged to write a simple gratitude on the leaves or branches of the tree.

Here are three things we’ve discovered since we began this holiday tradition a few years back:

We’ve Got Each Others Backs


The Tree of Thanks at Provision Living at St. Louis Hills. Residents and staff add their gratitudes to the branches and leaves.

When I look at the notes on the Tree of Thanks, I’m repeatedly struck with the same thought: Here is a community of people that truly supports each other. So many of the appreciations written on the Tree are residents thanking our Provision Living staff for their care or our care partners thanking each other for help and support.

The Tree is also a place to celebrate life’s small victories. “I’m thankful to wake up each morning,” read one of the comments this year. And you know what? That’s true! For our community the Tree has come to symbolize more than thanks; it has also become a source of strength. Someone who is having a bad day can read it and know that they are not alone. There is community here to support them. Their “extended family” is here at Provision Living.

A New “Family” Tradition

One of the toughest parts about moving a loved one into assisted living is the impact it will have on family traditions. They worry that future holidays will not be the same as the cherished memories they have of past celebrations. 

We understand that concern. We also believe in starting new traditions. The Tree of Thanks is one such holiday tradition we have here at Provision Living at St. Louis Hills. Another is our Thanksgiving brunch that we host the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving. As in years past, this year our management team and staff brought in their spouses, significant others and kids to participate and serve our residents and their families. Thanksgiving traditions may change and evolve, but the holiday is still a time to celebrate with family and friends.

The Benefits of Gratitude

There is one more reason we love the Tree of Thanks: the effect on the health and attitudes of our residents is tangible. You can see it in the smiles, hugs and camaraderie that come with each new gratitude added to the Tree. Research also backs up the health benefits associated with our Tree of Thanks. 

Niccole Eye, Community Relations Manager at Provision Living at St. Louis Hills.

Niccole Eye, Community Relations Manager at Provision Living at St. Louis Hills.

Numerous studies have shown that giving thanks increases happiness, improves physical health and emotional well-being, strengthens the immune system, reduces anxiety and depression and helps with sleep. With so many positives, it’s easy to see why we’ve come to love our Tree of Thanks so much. In fact, this year we’re keeping the Tree up throughout the holidays. Its branches and leaves are so filled, we’re now adding Christmas ornaments of thanks. 

We at Provision Living at St. Louis Hills are thankful for the opportunity we have to help our residents live full and rich lives, and we invite you to come see how we’re changing assisted living for the better. To schedule a visit, or for more information about our services and programs, please call me, Niccole Eye, at 314-647-6600.

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