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Holiday program helps Northwest Indiana seniors struggling with poverty and loneliness

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on November 07, 2012 with No Comments

Holiday Help for SeniorsWith so many older adults living alone and in poverty, some Northwest Indiana 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 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 Sandi Haywood, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Merrillville, serving all of Northwest Indiana. “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 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 Nov. 7 and run through Dec. 7. Christmas trees, which will go up in Towne Centre Senior Living Apartments at 7250 Arthur Boulevard in Merrillville, Sterling House of Merrillville at 8253 Virginia St., Rittenhouse Senior Living of Portage at 6235 Sterling Creek Road in Portage, Miller’s Senior Living Community at 5911 Lute Road in Portage, Brentwood at Hobart at 1420 St. Mary Circle in Hobart, and the Residences at Deer Creek Sales Office at 310 E. U.S. 30 in Schererville, will feature ornaments with the first names of the seniors and their respective gift requests. An additional tree will go up the week after Thanksgiving at Horizon Bank at 8590 Broadway in Merrillville.

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.

“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,” Haywood said. “Helping a needy older adult can bring fulfillment to the giver as well as the receiver – it does make a difference.”

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