Be a Santa to a Senior® Launches 7th Year

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Senior Gift Requests Expected to Increase This Holiday as Economic Slump Continues

"Most people are not aware that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of seniors in every community who have no family and are alone."

Be a Santa to a Senior®, the popular campaign spearheaded by Torrance Home Instead Senior Care®, has once again been launched for the holidays. In the last six years, over 2,100 gifts have been delivered to the South Bay’s needy seniors as a result of the community service program.

Senior gift requests are expected to be up this holiday season as the economic downturn continues and Social Security benefits fail to keep pace with the cost of living increases, according to a local senior care expert.

Torrance Home Instead Senior Care has partnered with over 22 South Bay area retailers, businesses and agencies that serve older adults to provide holiday presents to seniors who otherwise might not receive a gift this holiday season.

Part of the world’s largest network of non-medical home care and companionship providers for older adults, Torrance Home Instead Senior Care anticipates an increase in gift requests this year. Throughout North America, Be a Santa to a Senior has attracted upwards of 60,000 volunteers over the past six years distributing 1.2 million gifts to more than 700,000 seniors.

“Most people aren’t aware that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of seniors in every community who have no family and are alone,” says Denise de Cock, RN, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care serving Torrance, San Pedro and Marina del Rey. “What’s more, this holiday season finds many older adults struggling with basic necessities because of the economy.”

Since 2000, the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) has increased average benefits just 31 percent while typical senior expenses have jumped almost 63 percent, more than twice as fast, according to a report from The Senior Citizens League.

Be a Santa to a Senior, however, is not just about giving holiday gifts to needy seniors. It also helps stimulate human contact and social interaction for older adults who are unlikely to have guests during the holidays.

Running throughout the South Bay from November 1st through December 22nd, Be a Santa to a Senior is organized to ensure that seniors get the items they need and want, which in many cases are grocery and pharmacy cards to help with the cost of food and medicine.

Prior to the holiday season, participating local non-profit organizations identify needy and isolated seniors in the community and provide those names to Torrance Home Instead Senior Care. Christmas trees, which went up in nine South Bay locations on November 1st, feature ornaments with the seniors’ first names and their respective gift requests. A tenth tree will go up in the Del Amo Mall on Friday, November 26th.

The Be a Santa to a Senior plan works as follows:

•Holiday shoppers can pick an ornament from a tree, buy an item listed on it and return both the unwrapped gift and the ornament to the store.
•Torrance Home Instead Senior Care enlists the volunteer help of its staff, senior-care business associates, non-profit workers and others to collect, wrap and distribute the gifts.
•A gift-wrapping day, when hundreds of presents will be wrapped by volunteers from throughout the South Bay, will be held on Thursday, December 16, 3:30 p.m. at the Salvation Army of Torrance Adult Day Care Center, 4223 Emerald Street, Torrance.

Torrance Home Instead Senior Care is currently looking for:

  •     Volunteers to monitor the tree at the Del Amo Mall during mall hours from Nov. 26 through Dec. 12.
  •     Volunteers for the wrapping party December 16
  •     Boxes—preferably those with a lid—in which to transport wrapped gifts. (Copier paper boxes are ideal.)

Those who want to lend a hand may contact Farrah Benedict or Teresa McNeil at 310-542-0563 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Mon-Fri. Businesses who are interested in “adopting” groups of seniors should contact Torrance Home Instead Senior Care at 310-542-0563.

Organizations providing the names of South Bay seniors—and volunteers— to the Torrance Home Instead Senior Care Be a Santa to a Senior program include Bay Crest Care Center (Torrance); Beach Cities Health District (Redondo Beach); Earlwood Care Center (Torrance); Gardena Senior Center (Gardena); Hawthorne Senior Center (Hawthorne); Herald’s Home Health (Long Beach); Family Adult Day Health Care (Lomita); Palos Verdes Health Care Center (Lomita); South Bay Senior Services (Torrance); Salvation Army SAGE House (San Pedro); Spring Assisted Living (Torrance); Vermont Care Center (Torrance).

For tree locations in your area, or for more information about the program, log on to http://www.beasantatoasenior.com. To learn more about Torrance Home Instead Senior Care, log on to http://www.homeinstead.com/286 or call 310-542-0563.

About Home Instead Senior Care, Torrance
Home Instead Senior Care/Torrance provides in-home senior care to clients in the South Bay, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, offering an unmatched level of integrity, trustworthiness and responsiveness. It is the only senior care provider in the South Bay with a comprehensive hiring and training program that ensures high quality care and reliable, personalized client service that consistently goes above and beyond expectations.

Through ongoing relationships with local senior care nonprofits, agencies, medical centers, assisted living facilities and other senior service providers, Home Instead Senior Care/Torrance has become the most informed source for senior care in the South Bay. For more information, call 1-800-FOR SENIORS or visit http://www.homeinstead.com/286.

Media Contact:
Barbara Meltzer at Barbara Meltzer & Associates Public Relations, (323) 964-9555, barbara(at)meltzerpr(dot)com.

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