DALLAS (1080 KRLD) – Like an increasingly long list of things in 2020, the holidays look different this year. But for Home Instead Senior Care, one thing hasn’t changed: The mission of spreading joy to senior citizens.
This season, it looks like that mission could be more important than ever. With COVID-19 case numbers surging once again and potential shutdowns on the horizon, it’s easy to see why so many are feeling disheartened, even scared.
This is especially true for senior citizens, who are at high risk of getting severely sick from COVID-19. Many seniors at care facilities have been isolated from their families for months, and now, some won’t get o spend the holidays with the ones they love. Todd Felker, Franchise Owner with Home Instead, says it’s a big problem.
“The biggest challenge has been social isolation,” Felker says. “That’s a common issue with seniors in general, but especially now.”
It's why Felker says spreading joy to seniors is incredibly important this holiday season. To help, Home Instead is once again launching a seasonal favorite: Be a Santa to a Senior.
“It’s a program that Home Instead has been sponsoring for about 17 years now,” Felker says. “We spread holiday cheer by delivering gifts to lonely and low-income seniors who might otherwise go without gifts, and might not receive a visitor during the holidays.”
Felker says it’s been a difficult year, but caregivers have risen to the challenge, finding safe ways to care for seniors and help them remain independent. In the same way, Felker says the ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ program has been tweaked for safety.
“It’s a really neat way we’ve pivoted to address the COVID concerns,” he says.
In the past, local retailers would support the program by putting up a Christmas tree with special ornaments. Shoppers would choose an ornament representing a local senior, buy them presents, then place those gifts under the tree.
This year, Home Instead has partnered with Amazon Business to provide a “contactless gift-giving experience.” Members of the community can visit BeASantatoaSenior.com and enter their zip code to view wish lists for seniors in the area. A personalized greeting can be included with the gift, which is then shipped directly to the senior or to Home Instead to be delivered at a later time.
The lists are available on Amazon Business through Dec. 15.
Felker says even though it's different, the program will still bring joy to hundreds of people in North Texas.
Home Instead launched the ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ program 17 years ago, and it’s been an annual tradition ever since. In that time, the program has provided more than 2 million gifts nationwide.
The program is so popular, other organizations have launched their own versions of it, like the Mansfield Parks and Recreation Department. Felker says he’s glad the program is spreading.
“We love that,” Felker says. “It results in more gifts for seniors.”
For more information about the program, visit BeaSantatoaSenior.com or call 972-744-9898.
More ideas about helping seniors in the community can be found at ReadytoCare.com.