We often hear Christmas is for the kids, however for the estimated 1.4 million seniors in Canada who report feelings of isolation and loneliness, a kind gesture from an anonymous Santa during the holidays could be life changing.
Senior isolation is a growing epidemic in Canada. Studies show the effects of isolation and loneliness can have severe negative effects on the health of seniors. One study found that lonely seniors have a 59 per cent higher risk of physical and mental health decline and a 45 per cent greater risk of death. Other researchers have suggested loneliness can be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic.
In an effort to curb loneliness among seniors during the holidays, London Drugs is partnering with more than 90 senior care organizations to continue its Stocking Stuffers for Seniors holiday donation drive, which will see gifts collected and delivered to approximately 17,000 seniors across Western Canada before Christmas.
“Just the act of receiving a gift helps to significantly improve the spirits of a senior and can have lasting mental and physical health benefits,” Operation Friendship Seniors Society’s community relations supervisor Jimmy Morrison said. “Many seniors without family spend the season alone, and it can be an especially difficult time for them. The simple gesture of giving a gift shows our seniors that people care about them at a time of year when they tend to feel the most isolated and alone.”
The donation drive concept originated in British Columbia’s Okanagan, and expanded to Edmonton in 2015 with a goal to help 40 low-income seniors by providing them with simple gifts such as food, hygiene products or warmth items. The campaign has grown quickly to now include all 82 London Drugs locations in 35 cities across Western Canada.
To support Stocking Stuffers for Seniors, visit any London Drugs from now until Dec. 16, 2019, and take a tag with a senior’s wish list from the tree. From there, simply fulfil the items on the list and bring them back to the location where the tag was selected. The gifts will be delivered to seniors before the holidays.
Popular gifts for seniors:
- Books or magazines
- Blankets and throws
- Kitchen essentials
- Candy or chocolate
- Board games or puzzles
- Slippers or warm socks
- Paper towels, tissues, and other paper products
- Warm clothes like gloves and scarves
- Travel mugs
- Gift cards for groceries and toiletries