Kathy has been Executive Director of Interfaith Senior Programs since 2001. A native of Wisconsin, she lives in Waukesha with her husband Jim Durnil, and has two sons. Kathy can be seen often at local libraries, book stores, coffee houses, and just all over Waukesha enjoying the local businesses.
Each day I am priviledged to come to work at Interfaith Senior Programs. We provide services to help seniors and adults with disabilities live independently, and place seniors as volunteers in schools and nonprofit agencies throughout Waukesha County. At Interfaith we have senior volunteers helping us in our downtown Waukesha office each day. These volunteers answer our phones, do data entry, and other projects. Recently I overheard some of them talking about Christmas gifts.
#1 gift that they don't need? More stuff! Many of them have downsized, or plan to downsize soon, and don't know what to do with the stuff that they have already. (They also talk about their kids who need to get their stuff out of the basement or attic.)
So what do seniors want for Christmas? Time with grandchildren is top of the list. I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean dropping the kids at Grandma's for the weekend while the parents take off, but means including grandparents in the kids' activities.
Also at the top of the list is a photo of the grandchildren. (I think it's okay if the parents are in the photo, too, but my husband and I learned a long time ago that photos of our children trumped photos of us!) A cherished photo in our family is one of the grandchildren with Grandpa and Grandma, at the left.
Our volunteers also mentioned that it's nice to receive gift cards for favorite restaurants nearby to enjoy lunch out with a friend.
The most important gift is to simply remember a senior at Christmas, and indeed, throughout the entire year. Many of our clients at Interfaith just don't have anyone who remembers to call them, send a card, stop by to visit. Wouldn't it be great if every senior in our community had at least one person who remembered them at Christmas, and beyond?