Holiday Program Helps Polk County Seniors Struggling With Poverty and Loneliness
With so many older adults living alone and in poverty, some Des Moines-area 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 Anne Peters, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Polk 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 Dahl’s grocery stores, Wesley Life Meals on Wheels, Woodlands Creek Active Retirement Community, 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 will kick off November 16th and run through December 14th. Christmas trees, which will go up in all local Dahl’s Grocery Stores, will feature ornaments with the first names of the seniors and their respective gift requests.
Holiday shoppers are asked to pick up an ornament off special Be a Santa to a Senior Christmas trees, buy items on the list, wrap and return them to the store, along with the ornament. Residents at Woodlands Creek Retirement Community and volunteers will gather for a wrapping party on December 14th. The public is invited to join in the fun that evening. 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 distribute the gifts.
“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,” Peters 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 (515) 221-0866.