Senior care organization Home Instead is making the holidays brighter this season by delivering gifts to isolated seniors. Through a partnership with Amazon, Home Instead has adapted this 17-year tradition for the coronavirus era.
“Over the course of our 17-year history, we provided well over 2 million gifts to socially isolated and lonely seniors in over 250 communities around the country,” Home Instead, Inc. CEO and President Jeff Huber said on FOX Business' “Varney and Co.”
The program, called “Be a Santa To a Senior,” is an online wish list that elderly Americans can add to. Anyone can go to the site, input their zip code and buy a gift online for a senior that Amazon will then deliver in a socially-distanced way.
This year, Huber knew the program would have to innovate due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We teamed up with Amazon Business and added a new dimension to our program,” he told host Stuart Varney. “For many of these seniors, this might be the only holiday gift or interaction they get all holiday season.”
Loneliness doubled for older Americans in the first months of the pandemic, according to one poll from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, AARP and Michigan Medicine. However, the study also showed neighbor interactions and technology can help seniors feel connected.
Before this year, Home Instead’s “Be a Santa To a Senior” program had a more traditional model, working with local partners to collect wish lists from seniors and placing them on paper ornaments, which would hang in grocery stores and pharmacies. Shoppers could buy the gifts listed on the ornaments and community volunteers would wrap them and deliver them.
Now, the new Amazon partnership has allowed the program to expand.
Anyone can go to BeASantaToASenior.com and add their relative or friend to the list of elderly Americans getting gifts this Christmas.
“It's a great way to brighten the lives of these socially isolated seniors,” Huber said.