With so many older adults living alone and in poverty, some Illinois seniors will undoubtedly be struggling to make ends meet this holiday season.
That’s why the area Home Instead Senior Care office has partnered with retailers and community organizations to make sure isolated seniors receive gifts and companionship through the Be a Santa to a Senior program.
“Seniors faced with medical bills and the high cost of living can find they have little left at the end of the year,” said Christine Schouten, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Grundy County. “That’s not the only issue, though. Personal needs may become magnified for so many living alone with no one to share their problems.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 9 percent of U.S. seniors 65 and older are living in poverty and 27 percent are widowed.
With the support of Grundy County Health Department, Community Nutrition Network and Jewel-Osco, as well as volunteers and members of the community, the local Home Instead Senior Care office will collect and distribute gifts to seniors who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.
The Be a Santa to a Senior program kicked off Nov. 15 and runs through Dec. 15. A Christmas tree, which is located at Jewel-Osco in Morris, features ornaments with the first names of the seniors and their respective gift requests. Jewel-Osco is donating all the wrapping materials.
Unwrapped gifts are due by Friday, Dec. 14. Gifts will be delivered to seniors in the community between Dec. 17-19.
Holiday shoppers are asked to pick up an ornament off special Be a Santa to a Senior Christmas trees, buy items on the list and return them unwrapped to the store, along with the ornament attached. The Home Instead Senior Care office will then enlist the volunteer help of its staff, senior-care business associates, non-profit workers and others to collect, wrap and distribute the gifts.
There will be a gift-wrapping event that is open to members of the public who would like to help at the Home Instead Senior Care office in Morris (1802 Division St.) at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12.
“Be a Santa to a Senior is another way to say ‘thank you’ to the many seniors who have made such important contributions to our community throughout the years,” Schouten said. “Helping a needy older adult can bring fulfillment to the giver as well as the receiver – it does make a difference,” she added.
For more information about the program, visit www.beasantatoasenior.com or call 815-223-7970.
Founded in 1994 in Omaha by Lori and Paul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care network is the world’s largest provider of non-medical in-home care services for seniors, with more than 950 independently owned and operated franchises providing in excess of 45 million hours of care.