The Christmas season can be difficult for seniors who aren’t able to be home celebrating with their families. What follows is an extraordinary account of a community determined to make the holiday season joyful for all of the patients at Consulate Health Care of Melbourne in Melbourne, Florida.

The staff at CHC of Melbourne knew that they wanted to give each resident a heartfelt holiday gift. They had a goal of preparing personalized presents for each of the 167 residents, many of the gifts being comprised of two or three items. Because there wasn’t a special budget to accomplish this, it was so fortunate that the community stepped up with tremendous support!


The assistance flooded in from several local organizations and individuals. The Compass Point community of individuals aged 55 and over donated 160 gifts. Vitas Hospice and Brevard County Triad donated 90 gifts. CHC of Melbourne also received a huge donation from the local dentist office of Dr. Lee Sheldon, Dr. Matthew Sheldon and Dr. Michael Furtado. Their office manager, Courtenay Zambrano, used social media to solicit gifts from the dental patients. They were able to contribute 46 blankets, 30 pairs of slippers, 10 shirts, 10 pairs of pants, and more. The Consulate Health Care staff also contributed to the bountiful collection of gifts.

The holiday party was spectacular! Several of the donors were there caroling with the residents and providing sweet treats and hot cocoa. The CHC of Melbourne staff were all involved passing out food and presents. Even Santa made an appearance! The residents expressed such joy upon receiving the gifts. One patient really wanted a large print bible. Imagine her delight when she was presented with a beautiful leather-bound large print bible!

All of this would not have been possible without the leadership of a special individual at CHC of Melbourne. Dakotah Nalley, the activities director orchestrated the entire effort, from beginning to end. Dakotah is an enthusiastic leader who just celebrated her first anniversary at the center. Dakotah is motivated by the connection she has with the residents. She loves their warm hugs, conversations, and being able to bring a smile to their faces.

Dakotah is driven by a passion to come to work each day and make a difference. She loves to come up with new ideas for activities and has the goal of being the “best possible ambassador for Consulate.” Dakotah told us that she credits her mother for passing Consulate’s Core Values onto her. “She exemplifies the Core Values. She has absolutely driven me to see the value in making sure that each resident is heard.” As you might guess, Dakotah’s mom, Marilyn, also works for Consulate.

We can’t wait to learn about the fantastic activities that Dakotah has up her sleeve for the upcoming months at CHC of Melbourne. With passion like hers, in combination with a caring community, anything is possible!