The holiday season is the season for giving but often times some of the most vulnerable are forgotten. A local organization is dedicated to helping the elderly year-round but especially this time of year.
“What you see is some of the gifts, that are still getting ready to be sent out,” explained Rene Breland, Director of Aging Programs at TARCOG.
Gifts line the hallways of the Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments (TARCOG) office.
“Well over 1,000 presents are coming through here,” Breland continued.
Gifts are dropped off at TARCOG every Christmas. They’re not for children but for a group that’s overlooked during the holidays.
“A program that we do every year, this time of year, called Santa for Seniors. So, this year we will provide over 400 seniors Christmas presents,” said Breland.
One of TARCOG’s divisions is the Area Agency on Aging. Elderly clients involved in the Medicaid waver program are asked to make a Christmas list.
“Many times they’re asking for things that we wouldn’t think necessarily would be something that would be important to them, like cleaning supplies or any other kind of personal items that they might need, that many of us take for granted,” Breland said.
Holidays can be lonely for seniors who are in nursing homes, or live alone and don’t have family close by. Some may not receive a gift at all.
“In nursing homes it does happen, because people they’re there to be taken care of. Sometimes maybe family and friends think they’re being taken care of and their needs are being met, but they forget about the socialization part of that and the connection with their community, with family, with loved ones that need to continue on,” she explained.
TARCOG is no longer collecting presents this year, but they suggests calling a local nursing home to see how you can help a senior in need.