With all the emphasis on children around the holidays, our older citizens are sometimes forgotten. We urge people to extend their generosity to them, as well.
In every nursing home in the North Country — and in some neighborhoods, as well — you can find senior citizens who no longer have living relatives in the area or, even more sadly, have family members who just don’t care.
Though nursing-home staff members do their best to ensure that these people have a pleasant holiday, help from the public is always appreciated.
Every year, the Press-Republican reminds people, as they consider charitable giving, to not forget local nursing-home residents. We do so in honor of the late Dr. Angelo LaMariana, a Plattsburgh State music professor and accomplished musician for whom this was special cause.
LaMariana made it to age 95 without needing the services of a nursing home, but he often visited those facilities, as well as a number of shut-ins, to visit friends or deliver communion as a Eucharistic minister. He would stop in the Press-Republican every year and talk about how sad it was to see lonely people as he made his rounds.
In some countries, elders are revered and cherished; in the United States, the emphasis seems to be on youth. It will be interesting to see how that plays out over the years as the baby boomers age; they might be too large a force to be ignored.
If you decide to donate gifts, they don’t have to be expensive; it is the idea that these “forgotten” senior citizens will have a little surprise to open on Christmas.
Gifts that have been suggested by nursing-home staff include: Body wash, body lotions, deodorant, body spray, slipper socks, small plastic spray bottles, sun catchers, CDs of older music, bird feeders, bird seed, large-print calendars, clocks with large numbers, nail polish, emery boards and orange sticks, jewelry, pins, large-print search-a-word books, craft items, craft paint, batteries (AA and AAA), decks of cards, board games, DVDs, large-print calendars, tie-dye kits, white pullover T-shirts (sizes large, medium and extra large), hair bands and barrettes, hats, scarves, mittens, men’s and women’s PJs, aftershave, socks, puzzle books, jewelry, art supplies, shawls, men’s handkerchiefs, men’s baseball caps and hats and portable Walkman-type CD player with headphones.
The presents should not be wrapped — though providing paper would be appreciated — because the staff members need to decide who gets what.
Think about what a wonderful lesson in compassion and respect you could teach your children by getting them involved in this giving project. They could help with the shopping and delivery.
Maybe you want to take it one step further and sit down and spend a little time visiting with one of these senior citizens. That would be a golden gift for their golden years.