My mom lives on less than $200 a month. It’s a long, drawn out, and complicated situation so I won’t go into details. Us kids do help her out quite often, mostly without her knowing. Last night on the phone with her, she told me how she likes to keep it cold in the house because it feels like home (she’s from Boston) and plus, it saves her money on the energy bill.
It got me thinking of other people her age (over 65) in a similar situation. How many senior citizens keep their house cold because they can’t afford their bill? How many senior citizens are just lonely? So I decided to list a few links for people to help out.. either with money or with time.
There is LIHEAP which is a federally funded program to help out low income families, which means the senior citizen has to “compete” with families. There are no donations that I found. Not to mention they usually run out of money mid-winter.
Virtual Volunteering for Senior Citizens – a list of places to donate your time.. without leaving your computer.
Adopt a Grandparent – Atlanta- based charity
Write a Senior Citizen – Find a penpal
Crochet 4 Senior Citizens – I’m not sure if this lady is still active in her charitable giving, but this does raise a point.. you can always donate yarn to nursing homes.
Want to know what to buy a senior citizen for a holiday? Well.. let me quote you my mom when my sister got her a stuffed M&M for a Christmas present a few years ago (my sister’s heart is in the right place, but I’m not sure where her brain is). “Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter and I know she means well, and I’m not ungrateful. But geez.. I don’t need anymore things to dust!”
Gift cards are the best. Especially if they’re to area grocery stores or retailers like Wal-mart. This way they can get exactly what they need. Subscriptions are good too.. maybe to Netflix, a magazine (such as Readers Digest or Guideposts), Pogo.com, or something “of the month” club.
Make the gift useful. Don’t buy a mug, a cute statuette, stuffed animal, or anything that will sit on a bookshelf and collect dust. The best gift of all is YOU. Your time, your company, your care. Maybe you could mow the lawn, teach them how to use email, send a postcard every now and then, or ask them to make a list of books they like and start sending them a book a month. But most of all listen when they talk… sometimes they just need to be heard.