Santa to a Senior gift wraps dignity

About 600 gifts given to seniors for Christmas 2016

Resident Katie Booth acts as an elf during the Be A Santa to a Senior wrapping party at Shannon Oaks in Oak Bay.



In senior residences around the region, animated holiday chatter around the dinner table centres on gifts, phone calls and surprise visits.

It’s critical that even those alone or suffering dementia receive a gift for Christmas, a reminder they’re a valued person in our society, says Peggy Hancyk, head elf for the Be a Santa to a Senior program.

Whether it’s adaptable clothing, comfy pyjamas or a stuffed puppy, the act of opening a gift changes perspective. It reminds them someone cares, and that person still holds value.

“It’s just the fact they get something,” said Hancyk, on loan from her usual role handling community relations for Victoria Home Instead Senior Care.

“I wish each person who has bought a gift for a senior/disabled could be with them when they receive the Christmas gift,” one social worker wrote to Hancyk.

“Some people show their surprise and happiness at getting the gift; others are quiet and thoughtful. For the caregiver and the senior it is a lift in an otherwise very bleak and often painful world. A gift or more the act of giving can renew the disabled person’s faith in human nature that there are people out in the wide world who still care for the elderly/disabled without even knowing them. The gift is so much more than the physical thing inside the pretty wrapping; it says so much more to the person. It can bring back happy memories of better times – maybe when they were younger –  and times when family cared for them.”

Now in its ninth year, Be a Santa to a Senior program delivers secret-Santa gifts and companionship for lonely and isolated seniors during the holidays.

The public picked ornaments from trees scattered across the region late last month and fulfilled some Christmas wishes that will be delivered in coming days.

Classes from Cedar Hill middle and St. Patrick’s elementary schools decorate gift bags and Shannon Oaks residents, along with volunteers from Marrion Village, host a wrapping frenzy.

 

“It’s growing and growing. We have about 600 people this year,” said Hancyk. “The number of people who want to give, exceeds by far, the number of people I have to give to. The gifts are well thought out and generous.”

 

 

Just Posted

Classy cruiser continues to pay it forward

Bike up for sale to fund Sno’uyutth Legacy scholarships

Dance club marks 35 years with Sunday evening shindig

People Meeting People host dinner and dance Feb. 25 at Monterey Recreation

Significant heritage house on Beach Drive to be restored

Heritage Revitalization Agreement approved as part of subdivision proposal

Experts to capture and collar 20 female deer in Oak Bay starting this month

Does sedated, examined, collared and ear tagged in latest phase of deer management plan

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Cattlemen urge B.C. to prevent erosion caused during 2017 wildfire season

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

B.C. runner takes silver at Pan American cross-country championships

Tyler Dozzi’s medal pushes U20 Team Canada to gold finish

Duncan cousins found guilty of aggravated sexual assault

Assault so violent, victim required surgery

Wanted by Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers for the week of Feb. 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Victoria airport to spend $19.4m on terminal expansion

Record passenger growth means YYJ needs to grow

Most Read