Senior Center spreading Christmas cheer

Pictured with some of the dolls that were delivered as part of the Senior Citizens Center Drive are: Seated, Chris Brooks; Standing, from left, Jackie Wilson, Teresa Carr, Mary Stout, and Joyce Gaffin.

 

Baby Doll Drive benefits nursing homes, Venture Productions – 

By Patricia Beech – 

Staff, volunteers, and board members at the Adams County’s Senior Citizens Center are working to spread Christmas cheer by distributing baby dolls to area nursing home facilities.
“If people could see how the Alzheimer’s patients in our local nursing homes interact with these dolls, they would be surprised,” says Mary Stout, Executive Director of the Senior Center. “They bring a lot of joy and comfort to the residents and they have such a positive effect on their well-being.”
The dolls were delivered Thursday, Dec. 7 to residents at the Adams County Manor, Eagle Creek Rehabilitation Center, Monarch Meadows, and Venture Productions.
“We wanted to include Venture Productions because it is such a wonderful facility,” said Stout. “The people there are just amazing – it brightens my day whenever I visit them.”
The council members also distributed coloring books, activity work books, and other items, in addition to the dolls.
The gifts were all donated by local individuals, businesses, churches, and organizations.
“We’re very, very pleased with the community’s response,” said volunteer Chris Brooks. “People were very generous, the response was way bigger than what we were expecting.”
This is the first year the Senior Center has hosted the Doll Drive.
“In the past we’ve gone to the nursing homes to visit with the residents and we noticed that many of them had baby dolls,” said Stout. “Seeing how much love they had for them really touched us and inspired us to hold the drive.”
After delivering the gifts, Stout and the staff from the Senior Center spent time with the residents and gave each a Christmas ornament.
“We really enjoy visiting with all of them, especially during the Christmas season when it’s such a lonely time for so many” she says. “A lot of the nursing home residents don’t have family, or if they do they might not hear from them, so this is just our way of doing something for the seniors.”
Stout says she believes it’s important for people in the community to reach out to the elderly, especially during the holidays.
“So many of the elderly live alone,” she says. “If we just take five minutes out of our day and visit a neighbor who has no one else, or spend a half-an-hour in a nursing home talking to the residents – it’s not only going to touch their hearts, it’s going to touch yours as well.”
The Senior Citizens Council is a private nonprofit organization providing home care and transportation services, as well as information and referrals to area seniors citizens. They also sponsor special events like the Doll Drive, Senior Citizens Day at the Adams County Fair, and many more, such as the free Telephone Reassurance Program for local elderly people who live alone.
“We call to check on them and make sure they’re doing okay, then we chat with them for a while,” says Stout. “It gives them and their families some peace of mind.”
The Senior Center is located at 10835 State Route 41, in West Union. For information call (937) 544-3979.

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