This season, many Ottawa seniors who are alone will receive some holiday cheer thanks to the Be a Santa to a Senior® program. Sponsored by the local Home Instead Senior Care® office, the program brings together area nonprofits, numerous volunteers and members of the community to provide gifts and companionship for lonely and isolated seniors. Christmas always focuses on children and families, however this program focuses on our local seniors.
“It is heartbreaking to think of the senior members of our community spending the holidays all by themselves, without any gifts or any way to celebrate the season,” says Lesley Sullivan, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Ottawa. “But all too often, that’s what happens when seniors live alone. It can be a really tough time of year for them.”
Home Instead Senior Care has partnered with Meals on Wheels and local Community Resource Centres to help with the gift collection, wrapping and distribution. Program officials hope to collect 650 gifts in order to help more than 650 Ottawa area seniors this holiday season.
Participating retail locations and retirement homes will display Be a Santa to a Senior Christmas trees from November 23rd to December 14th that feature ornaments with seniors’ first names and their gift requests. Members of the public can pick ornaments from the trees, buy the items listed and return them unwrapped (and with the ornament attached) to the tree.
Be a Santa to a Senior trees will be located at nine retirement homes and three Shoppers Home Health Care locations:
If you would like to support a senior but cannot get to one of the trees to pick up a tag, please call our office and we will mail one or more tags to you.
Program partners and volunteers will wrap and distribute the gifts to local seniors who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.
“During this season of giving, we encourage s the public to buy a little extra gift for a local senior,” said Sullivan. “Your gift - and more importantly the visit that comes with the delivery – could make their holiday season.”
For more information about the program, visit BeaSantatoaSenior.ca or call 613-599-6906.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.