‘My heart aches’: Minnesota seniors brace for a long and lonely holiday season

For the past five decades, MaryAnn Falk has been the guiding force behind her family’s annual Thanksgiving celebration. The former factory worker from New Ulm, Minn., would spend weeks vetting every detail, from who would bring the turkey gravy and Swedish meatballs to the color of the flowers neatly arranged on her dining table. When dinner began, Falk would orbit the table like a maître d’, not resting until her 15 children and grandchildren had eaten every last bite of her pudding-topped fruit salad.

But this year will be different.

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