Be a Santa to a Senior

By: Keith Jones Email
By: Keith Jones Email

Researchers have found that giving a gift can reap more emotional benefits than receiving one, and what better time to do so than at Christmas.

However, many people in the Valley may be forgotten, including senior citizens. For some, that may mean no presents, while for others, it possibly means no family.

"They just sort of dumped me here, and thought that would be it because now I'm safe. So I got physically dumped here and I got emotionally dumped here," says Dan Keane, who lives alone.

Keane's family isn't coming to see him this Christmas.

He says, "Without being with other people, it's almost meaningless."

He made sure to decorate, but he isn't expecting many visitors. Like hundreds of others in the Valley, he resides in an assisted living community, and a knocks at the door is always welcome.

"It's incredible to see the appreciation of the person when they're receiving our gifts," says Patricia Wells, owner of Home Instead Senior Care.

She says many people tend to forget about senior citizens.

"There are many, many people, and we've just scratched the surface," says Wells. "Each year, we're able to give more and more gifts away to those seniors."

Organizations around the Valley gathered gifts all month for forgotten seniors. They include Brightview at Baldwin Park, Ruxton Health of Staunton, Interim Healthcare, Loyalton of Staunton, Kings Daughters, Shenandoah Nursing Home, the Alzheimer's Association, Program for Aging Services, and the Department of Social Services.

For Keane, the gift he received from Wells was enough to make the holidays seem a little brighter.

He says, "I've left what was my home and come here and this is my home because there's so many nice people here."

The Be a Santa to a Senior program, though made up of several different organizations, could not have been possible without the community's help.


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