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“Be a Santa to a Senior” Program Gears Up to Bring Joy to Isolated Seniors

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When spouses have passed on and family members visit infrequently, the approaching holiday season sadly may not hold much for your senior patients and clients to look forward to. The Be a Santa to a Senior® program, coordinated by the Home Instead® network, provides a way for senior care professionals and community members to reach out to those lonely seniors and help make sure they're not forgotten during the holidays.

Providing Gifts and Companionship to Seniors in Need

Each year, Home Instead franchise offices throughout North America brighten the holidays for lonely or financially-challenged seniors by providing gifts and companionship through the Be a Santa to a Senior program.

While donated gifts beautifully wrapped in festive paper are important to this community outreach, the true value of the program is evident on the seniors' faces and in their profuse words of gratitude to the "Santa" who cared enough to make them feel special. Senior patients or clients you may have previously observed feeling lonely and depressed will have the chance to experience the child-like excitement of unwrapping a gift bearing their name and the feeling of joy that so brightly lights up their face and uplifts their spirit.

Since introducing the program six years ago, the Home Instead network has helped provide 1.2 million gifts and smiles to more than 700,000 seniors.

How the Program Works

Home Instead franchise offices partner with local senior care facilities, non-profit organizations and other community groups to identify seniors who might not otherwise receive a special gift or visit this holiday season. Then, partnering retail locations and local businesses will display trees decorated with gift tags featuring the seniors' name and gift requests. Shoppers and patrons can select a tag, purchase the requested items, and return them to the store.

After the collection of gift donations, Home Instead franchise offices enlist the help of community volunteers to wrap and distribute the gifts.

How You and Your Organization Can Participate

Start by visiting and enter your zip code to find a Be a Santa to a Senior program near you. Then contact the Home Instead office coordinating the program and ask how you can help! Here are a few ways you and your organization might be able to participate:

  • Recommend lonely or financially challenged seniors who could benefit from the program.
  • Organize a gift drive within your organization where you and fellow employees "adopt" a group of seniors and collect gifts. Contact your local Home Instead office for a list of seniors' names and requests.
  • Send a monetary donation to cover the cost of wrapping supplies or requests for gifts not yet purchased.
  • Volunteer to help wrap or deliver gifts.

To see first hand how the Be a Santa to a Senior program brings joy to seniors and touches the hearts of volunteer participants, watch the Be a Santa to a Senior video.

Some of the most lonely and isolated seniors in need during the holidays are those who have been hospitalized or are struggling to recover on their own at home post-discharge. In addition to making sure those seniors are part of your local Be a Santa to a Senior program, you can help make sure they have the assistance and resources they need to make a successful recovery. Visit to learn more about how you can help to reduce a senior's risk of readmission.

Last revised: October 17, 2012

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. October 18, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Posted by Diane Myers

    I wish I could help but I am disabled at the time awaiting 3 surgeries.. I have an 83 year old dad who lives alone and I am sure he would love it if something like this happened to him. I wish I could do more for him but am unable to at this time. His zip code is 43110 in Canal Winchester, Ohio (Franklin County). If you could help me help my dad it would be greatly appreaciated. I am pretty much home bound and my medical bills are killing me. If you could help I'd be greatly appreaciated. Diane Myers P.S. I think this is great that someone, somewhere, is thanking of our seniors. God Bless You & Yours


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