Bring joy to a senior this season

Published 9:58 pm Thursday, November 1, 2012

From left, Deneen Evans and Nell Neal of Home Instead Senior Care and Robin Gilmette of the North Main Street Walmart place ornaments on the “Be a Santa to a Senior” tree at the store. Each ornament represents a senior member of the community and has gift suggestions for them.

The first day of November may seem a little early to start trimming the Christmas tree, but three ladies at the North Main Street Walmart on Thursday were doing just that.

The “Be a Santa to a Senior” tree isn’t just for decoration, though — the 100 ornaments on the tree list gift suggestions for local seniors in need of someone who cares during the holiday season.

“Unfortunately, because of the way our society is nowadays, seniors get left out,” said Deneen Evans, community service representative for Home Instead Senior Care, which runs the program in its service areas. “Seniors are the core of our community. They have history, experience and knowledge, and they are worthy of our service and our commitment.”

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The ornaments on the tree, which is located in the customer service area at the front of the store, list gift suggestions for seniors. Half of the ornaments are for men and half are for women.

Community members are asked to shop for the gifts and return them unwrapped to the store by Dec. 14, with the ornament attached. The community is invited to the gift-wrapping party on Dec. 17 at noon at the Home Instead Senior Care office, 3614 Pruden Blvd.

“There’s many seniors in the community that are forgotten about, especially at Christmas time,” said Nell Neal, franchise owner of Home Instead Senior Care. “Helping a needy older adult can bring fulfillment to the giver as well as the receiver.”

Gift suggestions listed on the ornaments include slippers, socks, toiletries, sugar-free candy, large-print word search or crossword books, lap blankets, hats, gloves and scarves.

Any other gift that would be appropriate for a senior is also welcome, Evans said.

“These are things seniors probably won’t buy for themselves,” she said. “They won’t ask for them. They’ll just wait.”

The holidays can be an especially lonely time for low-income seniors and those who do not have family nearby, Evans said. The ornaments on the tree allow the community to get involved in supporting them.

“It lets the community say, ‘I want to help out, too,’” she said.

Senior-appropriate gifts can also be dropped off at the Home Instead office without an ornament.

For more information on the program, visit or call 774-5051.