Christmas comes early

Local seniors receive more than 300 donated gifts.
Alex Green OC
Dec 21, 2013
Alexa Foreman says her organization exists primarily for companionship.

If that’s the case, Home Instead Senior Care of Port Clinton acted as the ultimate companion on Friday, when it provided about 115 gifts to seniors at the Erie County Care Facility.

“So many (seniors) said they’ve never had anything like this,” client care coordinator Ruth Ann Shaver said.

The gifts were practical: several puzzle games, blankets, lotions and such.

The program is the result of a community effort, with local stores playing a role. Walmart in Port Clinton and Community Markets in Oak Harbor were among the stores that displayed Christmas trees, with each tree displaying tags with a senior’s name and Christmas wish.

More than 300 gifts were donated to seniors in Ottawa and Erie counties.

“Some were simply seniors who weren’t getting anything for Christmas,” said Foreman, Home Instead’s staff coordinator. Blankets were the most popular item requested.

“A lot of people who requested blankets are in wheelchairs,” Shaver said. “You just don’t realize how cold it can be sitting in a wheelchair”

Shaver said she enjoyed collecting costume jewelry for seniors.

“I think it can be hard to sometimes feel beautiful,” she said. “One woman said she was never taking her necklace off. Others, we painted their nails”

Erie County Care Facility resident Bessie Hurley received a collection of word searches. “I love my gift” she said.

Most importantly, perhaps, the seniors felt appreciated. That’s a large part of the organization’s mission.

Home Instead operates like a nursing home in people’s own homes, with nurses checking on clients to make sure they don’t feel neglected.

Home Instead partners with businesses and countless volunteers to brighten the holidays for seniors. The agency oversaw a similar presentation of gifts Thursday at Lakeview Estates.