Although nursing homes provide much-needed care for elderly individuals, they are also some of the most desolate places in which to dwell. According to the BBC, as much as 60 percent of people who live in nursing homes never receive regular visitors.
That’s a shame — really and truly — but a number of people used Christmas 2018 to reach out to the needy in nursing homes. From individuals to local businesses, they all made the season just a little bit brighter.
While Glen Falls, New York, resident Stacey Wood worked with Thirty-One Gifts, she came up with an idea.
Why not use them as care packages for nursing-home residents? Wood’s initial 61 bags soon flourished into more than 500, according to Sunny Skyz.
With a group of volunteers behind her, she handed out bags to the residents of five separate nursing homes. “It’s just to try and bring them some cheer because they are forgotten about,” she explained.
“We all think about the kids, but so few people think about seniors — people without family or whose family have effectively abandoned them. … They love the gifts because they are things that they don’t have access to, and they get excited to have people who come visit who they know have been thinking about them.”
The bags included items such as blankets, pens, books containing simple mental exercises, lotion and chapstick — along with a personal note. Such goods are exactly the things that nursing homes say their residents need.
One Illinois man surprised his wife of 67 years with a gift that she also needed this Christmas.
Diane Hawkins told KFSN-TV that her mother had lost her diamond engagement ring while she was in the nursing home where she and her husband live.
That’s a devastating loss at any age. But Hawkins’ father had a surprise in store.
Video footage captured at a Christmas gift exchange showed him handing a gift bag to his wife, which she nonchalantly began to open.
Yet once she peered at the wrapped jewelry box inside, her mouth dropped open and her head snapped to the side to stare at him. For his part, the perfectly pleased husband offered only a small smile.
Though she seemed to have guessed its contents earlier, a hand flew to her face when she saw the actual ring inside. Her husband had bought her a brand new one.
The original ring had gone missing after an injury had required Hawkins’ mother to remove it. “But that didn’t stop the love this couple has shared for 67 years,” Hawkins said.
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