Social isolation is a very real problem among seniors, and never more so than during the holiday season, when those without family are continually reminded of their solitude. Fortunately, there are organizations like Seniors Secret Service that can help us connect with isolated seniors during this holiday season, and throughout the year.
Headquartered out of Calgary, Canada, the stated mission of Seniors Secret Service is to “enhance the quality of life for individuals 60 years or older who are alone in our community.” The holidays, with their emphasis on giving and receiving gifts, provide a special opportunity for us to positively affect the lives of isolated seniors.
The Seniors Secret Service “Secret Santa program” offers Calgary-area residents the opportunity to “adopt” as many seniors as they see fit. Rather than just a blind gift-drop, the Secret Santa program connects volunteers to profiles of the seniors they’ve adopted, enabling you to go shopping with a firm idea of what the adopted seniors might like.
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This season, the response was overwhelmingly positive, and all Secret Santa slots were filled in advance. In five different districts of Calgary, the police also generously set up holiday gift drop-off locations, so that the Santas could easily donate gifts to be given to their adopted seniors.
Thankfully, Seniors Secret Service is not only a holiday-time organization. Throughout the year, it offers a number of ways for people to get involved:
1. Volunteer: Volunteer elves are relied on to help transport gifts to the Seniors Secret Service warehouse, as well as to sort gifts after they arrive.
2. Donate: The easiest way to donate is to do so online through CanadaHelps.
3. Smart Betty: An online service that connects Canadians to all manner of discounts from local merchants, Smart Betty also donates 10% of their earnings to Seniors Secret Service.
4. Idle Penny Campaign: Turn pocket change into gifts — every $25.00 received translates into a gift for a deserving senior.
5. Become a Secret Santa: They come from all walks of life!
6. Get Involved: When it comes to volunteer opportunities that benefit isolated seniors, there’s no shortage of options. Here are just a few:
Granted, that’s only a brief look at volunteer opportunities available to people across North America who want to help seniors this holiday season. Many more opportunities doubtless exist within your community. Why not do a little searching and find ways that you can connect with socially isolated seniors in your area?
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of sharing holiday cheer with those who need it. What will you do this holiday season to enhance the life of a senior loved one? Please share in the comments below.