Giving Back Provides Purpose for Seniors

Violette puts gifts for a young girl in a box as part of Operation Christmas Child

Violette puts gifts for a young girl in a box as part of Operation Christmas Child

At the beginning of each year, the Vienna Resident Council convenes to discuss what they would like to see or do during the coming year. In January of 2018, the Resident Council decided they would like to do something to give back to kids. It was a couple of weeks after Christmas and, like many of us, they were feeling inspired by stories of do gooders. One of the great parts about Christmas is that it inspires us to be grateful for what we have and inspires us to want to share that feeling of joy with others. These folks decided they also wanted to bring Christmas cheer. They decided they would raise money then at the end of the year find a cause who provides gifts for kids at Christmas and make their donation.

To raise money for the gifts, the residents set up two recycling containers at Vienna for bottles and cans. When the recycling containers were full, the Activities Department took the cans in to exchange them for cash. By the end of the year they had over $100. Vienna staff helped residents choose a program, and together they decided Operation Christmas Child was the best bet. Operation Christmas child asks donors to fill a box for a boy or girl of a certain age. It’s difficult for residents to easily travel to the store so this was a good fit; residents said who they wanted to buy for, a few items they wanted the kids to have, and then were able to pack the boxes, while staff went out and picked up gifts.

In the end, residents were able to send boxes of gifts to three little girls. It gave them the ability to meaningfully contribute to a group of people they care deeply about (kids) while working within their different needs. Almost every person living in a nursing home has spent most of their life taking care of others, and projects like this give these folks an opportunity to reconnect with an identity they’ve had their entire lives. Knowing that you’re helping in a meaningful gives everyone of all ages, from toddlers to centennials, a sense of purpose. What better gift to give than a renewed sense of purpose this holiday season?