Cheer Packages for Isolated Seniors

To show love and support for seniors during this difficult time, I’ve launched the Cheer Package program through my organization, the Stay Gold Society. Cheer Packages are filled with small gift items, activity books, snacks and cards. The goal of the program is to bring smiles to the faces of seniors, and remind them that they are loved and cared about. 

I will also be including gifts for the care staff.  Staff members at care facilities were worn ragged caring for residents with minimal PPE, terrified of spreading the virus around the residence, or bringing it home to their families. It is so important that we continue to recognize the value of their work. 

As a weekly volunteer at La Chaumiere Retirement home, I miss my face to face visits with the residents. From my first visit to the home, many of the seniors treat me like family, or a long-lost friend. I’ve formed such close bonds with the seniors there, and I miss them so much. I’m looking forward to delivering my first round of Cheer Packages to seniors at La Chaumiere Retirement Home, Cardinal Place and several smaller residences in Windsor and Essex County. This round of Cheer Packages was funded by a $1,500 #RisingYouth grant I received from from TakingITGlobal, the Government of Canada, and Canada Service Corps. 

To continue to create Cheer Packages for as many isolated seniors as possible, I need your help! Your donation will go directly to the Cheer Package program, helping me purchase Cheer Package contents such as large print crosswords, playing cards, colouring books and markers, wall stickers, snacks, chocolate bars and a mix of other fun gifts and essential items. 

Why Cheer Packages? 

Earlier this year my grandmother, who resides in a long-term care home, witnessed an ongoing tragedy unfold just outside of her room. COVID-19 was spreading like wildfire around the facility, infecting both staff and residents, several of whom resided just down the hall from my grandmother.  In the end, 26 people died and dozens more became ill. 

Somehow, my grandmother was spared from contracting COVID-19, but she endured another form of horror: confinement to her room for many months with no visits from friends or family. All we could do as her family was wave to her from outside the building whilst speaking to her via cellphone. We all felt so helpless. 

My grandma’s situation is heartbreaking, but she is not alone in experiencing this trauma. COVID-19 has been devastating to our senior population- especially those in nursing homes. Our seniors have endured months of isolation from their loved ones. Although we can’t be there in-person to extend a hand in comfort or offer a much-needed hug, it is vital that we find other ways to connect with seniors. But how?

During the 2019 holiday season, I collected over 10,000 handmade holiday cards for seniors through my Holiday HappyMail campaign with the help of thousands of individuals and over 100 schools, businesses, libraries and community organizations.

Witnessing firsthand the positive impact of this program on seniors was a catalyst for me to continue to find ways to connect with them by starting the Cheer Package program.

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Organizer and beneficiary

Emily Truman 
Organizer
Windsor, ON
Christina Friedrichsen-Truman 
Beneficiary
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