by Jennifer Blanck, National Council On Aging Call Center Team Leader
During Christmas 2014, I was nervously in charge of our first annual Adopt-A-Family campaign at ELM. This campaign turned out to be a great success and it felt good knowing ELM was giving back to the seniors in our community, whom we strive so hard to assist. This year, we chose to continue this tradition with me leading our second annual Adopt-A-Family campaign. Since I began working for ELM, I have learned of the many services, resources, and community partners working together to serve seniors, and this made my search for a senior family in need much easier this year.
Contacting the Tri-County Office on Aging seeking a senior family in need, I was provided with information for a family who had recently fallen on difficult times. A husband and wife, both seniors, had recently moved into their daughter’s small two bedroom home with her husband and two small children. The husband had suffered his first stroke twenty years ago and a second stroke a few months ago, leaving him with cognitive and speech impairments. The wife suffers from a condition called Chorea, which causes involuntary and unpredictable body movements. Neither one can be left alone and require constant supervision, thus leaving their daughter with a full plate as full-time caretaker for them and her own small children.
It was an honor and privilege to be able to help this family with the means to be able to have a nice Christmas. Together, ELM staff was able to provide a few gifts for each of the grandchildren, a few gifts for both the husband and wife, a small box of food, and nearly $100 in gift cards, so they could do their own Christmas shopping. The family was extremely grateful for the kindness and generosity of ELM. Their daughter expressed that her mom had not been in much of the Christmas spirit this year because of their situation and recent battles with illness and an injury. I think our Christmas delivery came at just the right time to help restore their spirits for this holiday season.
This is why it is so important to me that we adopt a family every year; to show them kindness, give them hope, and let them see that there are people willing to help others who expect nothing in return and that it really comes from their hearts. It is important to remember the seniors in our community who are so often overlooked at the holidays. Hopefully others will see what we do and be encouraged to do the same for our seniors.