Sitting on the couch at Senior Come Share Society, Bill Auger paints a picture of what the holidays can be like for many seniors.
First of all, think of being alone, he says. Imagine if your mother, father, sisters, brothers, children, husband or wife are not around to celebrate the holidays or they forgot about you.
There is no one to have Christmas dinner with, so as you remove your frozen dinner from the microwave, peel off the plastic and sit in front of the television, you watch a program that displays someone else’s family, enjoying the warm blessings of love, friendship, gifts and dinner with each other.
“Many seniors live like this,” the 64-year-old said. “They have outlived all their friends or relatives.”
Though Auger has two daughters who come to visit him as often as they can, three years ago, when volunteers from the annual Be A Santa to a Senior campaign, organized by the Home Instead Senior Care network, came to the society while he was visiting with friends, he put his name down and included a small list of items he would like, including a ladder so he could fix the lights and fan in his apartment.
He recalled the day when he heard a knock on his door in 2010. The first thing he thought was, ‘who could that be?’
Upon opening the door, a cheery, smiling face greeted him on the other end and said “Merry Christmas, I’m from Be A Santa to a Senior program, do you remember the wish tag you filled out?”
The woman went on to explain that her family had taken his tag from one of the trees set up in various retailers on the Semiahmoo Peninsula and had put a basket together for him.
“I never got a ladder, but she had given me a gift certificate to Canadian Tire, which I did use and I did buy that ladder,” he laughed.
“She and her family had included a bunch of stuff in that hamper, from food to ball-point pens, and I didn’t even know her.”
He noted that many seniors living in the area may only have one visitor during the holidays, and to have someone come to the door with a smile, a hug and a gift can make all the difference.
“That interaction, that is really, really important to us,” he said. “You don’t want them to go, but as the door closes, you look at this box or basket and you realize that the wish tag no longer means anything.
“The fact that someone cares about you means first and foremost.”
Trees can be found at various retailers in the Lower Mainland. Locations can be found at www.beasantatoasenior.com