It is time for the holidays, and everyone begins thinking about what one can do to make someone’s Christmas a little merrier. Remember, there are many residents who live in long-term care facilities who have very few or no visitors. Statistics prove that 60% of long-term care residents never have a personal visitor. Why not take an hour during the holidays, go visit a long-term care facility, and receive blessings from the residents. Visitors do not have to know a resident to be able to brighten someone’s day. Visits from pets, following the facility’s guidelines, may also bring joy.

Some holiday gift suggestions for residents might include: money to get their hair fixed by the beautician, house shoes, slipper socks, large print books, lap blankets, sugar free candy, puzzles, pictures for their walls, sweat suits, robes, gowns or pajamas, night lights, large calendars, clocks or stuffed animals. Residents may also enjoy a prepaid shopping card to the local discount store, or an invitation to a meal at a restaurant or the visitor’s home. In addition, research indicates music helps people living with a wide range of cognitive and physical challenges to find renewed joy in life through musical favorites. You may consider buying an IPod or donating an old IPod to a resident and give with an ITunes gift card. Just giving a little time, could be the greatest Christmas gift that residents could receive.

 Top 10 things you can do for a Senior Adult: Adopt a yard for a season, host an inter-generational event, prepare a food basket, and assist with an everyday need such as changing a bulb, running an errand, or volunteering at a senior center. In addition, one could provide transportation to the doctor, church, store, or community event. One could take a senior to lunch or out for coffee, give quality time considering their interests, deliver meals to seniors who are homebound, and most of all be a friend.

Please do not forget about the loneliest people in the United States. There are approximately two million residents living in Long-Term Care Facilities. Ombudsman volunteers continue to be needed in the following counties: Pottawatomie, Seminole, Hughes, Okfuskee, Lincoln, Payne, & Pawnee. Give a weekly gift that lasts all year and costs only some of your time. Become an Ombudsman volunteer. Training is free, flexible and available in your area. For further information please contact Sherra Belk at COEDD Area Agency on Aging at 405-273-6410 Ext 133 or 1-800-375-8255 or email ombud1@coedd.net