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Don't forget seniors when giving back this holiday season

Posted at 7:14 PM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 05:33:11-05

LANSING, Mich. — Adopting a family for the holidays, or donating toys to kids, is a common way people give back, but there is a large part of the population that is often overlooked.

As the Baby Boomer generation gets older, more of them are in assisted living facilities, and what people may forget is many of those living in these homes may not have family that can visit during the holidays.

"They are still so excited about Christmas, and even those ones that have kind of had rough times with Christmas, it's still important that we build those last memories," Emily Vandewiele, life enrichment director at The Willows at Okemos, said.

If you walk the halls at The Willows at Okemos, you'll find more than 10 trees, countless strings of lights, and 'stockings hung by the chimney with care.' But on another tree is the names of people that are in need of a little help this holiday season.

"Most of the time its employees and residents in the facility...people we work with every day, people we are caring for every day, who are in need and who don't necessarily have that socioeconomic status to provide that extravagant Christmas."

People passing the tree can help them out by grabbing a name and buying them gifts. The facility also accepts cards and letters from the public for its residents. Vandewiele says just this small gesture can go a long way.

"Cards are absolutely welcome, and they are appreciated. We deliver mail every day and just the looks on their faces when they even get mail, sometime its bills, and they're excited," she said.

They hope that this will inspire more people to spend some time with the residents or send a letter or two--not just around the holidays--but year-round

"They're people too and just because they might be at an end-of-life stage, or they've kind of lived their life per se, doesn't mean they're any less of a person," Vandewiele added.

If you want to get involved at The Willows at Okemos, you can contact Vandewiele at (517) 349-3600.

The Tri-County Office On Aging also holds initiatives for seniors yea round. To get involved, click here.

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