It’s a humbling experience to walk the halls of Senior Concerns during the holidays. Almost every day there is some act of kindness that catches your heart and makes you realize what a great community we live in.
A few days ago a student group brought in a big batch of frozen cookie dough from a school fundraiser. This generous and creative student group expanded their own fundraiser to support another organization in their own community. Anyone who donated to the fundraiser had the option to donate their dough to the Senior Concerns Meals on Wheels program.
Last week a gentleman brought in a check for $500. At the holidays his church offers a donation to a charity making a difference in Ventura County. He explained to the front desk staff that his church’s gesture was especially moving to him because his wife had been a participant in Senior Concern’s Adult Day program for a number of years before her passing.
Yesterday a member of the Westlake Rotary brought in a set of raffle tickets for a seven day trip to Maui. The Rotary is holding the raffle to benefit three local nonprofits, one of them being Senior Concerns. The staff at Senior Concerns had no idea.
Generosity comes in all sizes, big and small. Last week’s mail included a substantial check from the Amgen Foundation. Their grant helps fund Senior Concern’s Adult Day program, which offers the relative or spouse of a senior with dementia an affordable, safe and nurturing place to take their loved one when not in their care.
Recently at the Goebel Senior Center, the Senior Concerns Advocates were helping a woman in her 70s determine how she was going to manage. Her husband had had a stroke and needed long-term nursing home care. The Advocates connected her with programs and services she had no idea existed. Handing the Advocate a $5 bill, she asked that the money be donated to Senior Concerns for “someone less fortunate” than she and her husband.
This time of year, the notes accompanying donation checks are a testament to the lives that Senior Concerns touches.
Letters arrive from the surviving spouse or the adult child of a loved one who is now deceased but had once been part of Senior Concern’s programs. They tell of times their loved one enjoyed the music, the companionship or the dancing in their last years. They talk about the reassurance they felt knowing that there was a place where their loved one could come as well as a kind and knowing staff to comfort and guide them during difficult times.
Then there are letters from those newly familiar with Senior Concerns.
They talk about the struggles they endured during the last years of caring for their aging loved one and that if they had only known that an organization like Senior Concerns existed, their loved one’s life would have somehow been easier. With thoughts to others going through the same experience, they offer their donation.
It’s an honor to be aging in a community so thoughtful, generous and kind, a community with a passion for caring for its oldest citizens in a way that honors and respects their past and present.