MISSISSAUGA: As isolation continues to impact local seniors and COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, Home Instead Mississauga is once again launching its longstanding Be a Santa to a Senior® program, which supports older adults who may be overlooked, isolated or alone during the holiday season.
This is the 14th year for the local program that collects gifts to share with older adults. This year, donations will come from residents at local retirement communities, and these gifts will then be shared with other seniors who will be spending Christmas in Credit Valley Hospital.
“We’ve all experienced feelings of loneliness during the pandemic, and seniors are at a particularly high risk for isolation,” said Greg Bechard, owner of the Home Instead in Mississauga.
“Be a Santa to a Senior shows the older adults in our community that they are valued and thought of during the holidays, even if they are spending it in a hospital.”
The gifts collected, which are items such as toiletries, clothing and blankets, make a big impact and help Mississauga area seniors combat holiday blues.
This year’s “seniors helping seniors” initiative reminds older adults in hospitals that they are cherished by the community. Since the program’s inception 18 years ago, Be a Santa to a Senior has helped provide more than 2 million gifts to over 750,000 seniors in North America and attracted upwards of 65,000 volunteers.
This year, the program aims to help an additional 100 seniors in Mississauga area hospitals. Gifts will be delivered to seniors in time for the holidays.
“A small act of kindness can make a big difference. And a heartfelt gift brightens the lives of older adults who may feel alone during the season,” said Bechard. “Finding ways to care and support one another is important now more than ever.”