Bringing Santa to Seniors 11

The holiday season is the time of year when families draw closer, warmth is shared and smiles blossom into memories and love. For many seniors, this time of year shines brighter due to the giving spirit of Home Instead Senior Care. Alana L. Titus, licensed clinical social worker, licensed master social worker, is director of operations, and in 2003, the Home Instead Senior Care Network launched their delightful program, Be a Santa to a Senior.

“The objective of the program is to give back to our community by providing gifts and holiday cheer to seniors who are less fortunate,” Titus says. “Our local franchise office initiated the program during its first year of operation in 2004. Each holiday season, the program touches the lives of nearly 200 seniors in our community.”

Home Instead is made up of more than 1,000 independently owned and operated franchises throughout the United States and in 11 other countries. Locally, there are Home Instead Senior Care franchise office in Lee’s Summit, Pleasant Hill, Overland Park and Liberty.

“We do not deliver gifts to the home. Instead, we reach out to senior living communities, inviting them to participate,” Titus says. “Those communities identify seniors who may not have family in the area and those who may not have the resources to purchase the extras that will make their day a little easier. Given the fact Santa is very ‘busy,’ the gifts are delivered by Santa’s elves. Greg Love with the Law Office of Aaron Love, and Brian Bradley with Spectrum Home Health have volunteered their time to make those special deliveries. Last year, Santa’s Sleigh was provided by Jefferson Health Care and they are on board for 2017.”

Each Christmas season, a participant packet is sent to senior living communities and they complete their wish list, kind of like their letters to Santa. Confidentiality is maintained for all participants. Then, Home Instead prepares an ornament and places the ornament on a Christmas Tree located in the Living Stone, Lee’s Summit, Academy Bank located inside the Walmart in Lee’s Summit and Academy Bank in Blue Springs. People can choose an ornament, then purchase the requested items and place the ornament and unwrapped gifts in the gift box.

“Gifts are picked up by volunteers or members of our staff who then return them to our office,” Titus says.”We hold fun wrapping parties through the season, and this year, a Girl Scout Troop and a Boy Scout Troop will be helping Santa’s elves.”

Titus is excited to have Lee’s Summit Social Services as a participant in this year’s Be a Santa to a Senior Program. Like the senior living communities, they will be identifying at least 25 seniors in Lee’s Summit who will benefit from this program. Home Instead is committed to allowing seniors to happily, peacefully age in place, with a mission of enhancing theirs and their families’ lives. Each member of the team is committed to providing quality care and meeting the specific, individual needs of each person they serve.

“We are always recruiting individuals to ‘share their heart’ with seniors. Becoming a CAREGiver provides an opportunity to brighten the lives of seniors and help them safely remain in their homes,” she says.

Anyone interested can call their office, 816.272.1415 or visit their website, HomeInstead.com/540. Due to the demand for their services and continued growth, they are always recruiting good quality CAREGivers.

“Come with a caring heart, outstanding work ethic, and we will train you! The average age of our CAREGivers is 52,” Titus says. “We have a number of CAREGivers 70 years or older.”