'Tis the Season: Be a Santa to a Senior Program
Brightens the Holidays for Seniors
The holidays are a great time to celebrate the joy of the season with loved ones, but for seniors who don't have friends or family nearby, it can be a particularly lonely time. This loneliness can have a significant impact on a senior's mental and physical health. In fact, isolated seniors are at greater risk for depression, low self-esteem and developing other mental health issues. The holidays tend to be a time where we focus on family, especially the young ones amongst us, but seniors deserve the same if not more attention, at this time of year. Not only for their past contributions in helping to build our society but also because they are just as vulnerable to the youngest amongst us.
To help seniors combat the holiday blues, Home Instead Senior Care is once again launching their annual "Be a Santa to a Senior" program. This charitable program began in 2006, as a way to give back to older adults in our local communities. The annual program brightens the lives of older adults during the holiday season by providing both gifts and companionship to seniors who are either alone or economically challenged. Ensuring these seniors remain connected to their communities helps them in immeasurable ways, improving their sense of self-worth and providing an emotional lift.
"With our annual Be a Santa to a Senior program, we are able to provide older adults with some comfort, fellowship and joy by delivering a thoughtful gift that they might not otherwise receive" said Sonia Goncalves, Director of Client Services at Home Instead Senior Care's Toronto East office. "Most importantly, by having these gifts delivered by a friendly face, we can provide our seniors with some words of reassurance and support that their community cares for them and has not forget about them at an important and significant time of the year."
Given the known benefits of this program, each year, the offices of Home Instead Senior Care partner with local non-profits, community services groups, businesses and retailers to help with the identification of seniors in need and the associated gift collection and distribution. The program now extends beyond the 9 offices currently operating in the GTA, and includes most of the other 11 offices across the Province and the 20 other offices now operating across the Country.
Community members can choose to participate in the program in various capacities. Some offices will hold local wrapping parties, others will have trees with "gift" ornaments distributed across local retailers with gift suggestions for seniors in their community. Holiday shoppers can then choose an ornament from the tree, buy the requested gift and return it to the store unwrapped with the ornament attached. These thoughtful gifts are then wrapped and hand delivered by community volunteers and program partners, serving to remind seniors that their community values and cares for them.
This year the Toronto East office of Home Instead hopes to deliver over 500 gifts to seniors in the community. Helping our seniors age well requires the support of all of us in the community. It is nice to see an organization focusing to the needs of this significant and influential segment of our population.
For more information about the program and how you can help, visit BeaSantatoaSenior.ca. Or, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office at 416-698-1384
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.