For Patricia Potter, getting in the holiday spirit is easy. Getting ready, not so much.
"I can't do it myself," she said. "I am too weak, plus I'd fall."
That's where Tammy Renault comes in. A caregiver from SYNERGY HomeCare, Renault is an Elders' Elf this season. Renault among those at work helping local seniors tackle their holiday to-do lists.
These Elders' Elves aren't from the North Pole. They're from the local agency. Their goal is simple: make the lives of seniors merry and bright during the holidays.
"The holidays can be a challenging time for seniors, and many seniors can feel stressed and unhappy because they can't get around like they used to," said Peter Tourian, CEO of SYNERGY HomeCare. "Their families may not live close enough to help them decorate the house or shop for gifts. Our caregivers pick up the slack for our aging friends who can't do it on their own anymore."
SYNERGY HomeCare is a national in-home care provider with caregivers coast-to-coast. The company cares for seniors in their own homes year-round but recognizes the need for extra help around the holidays. Elders' Elves have helped seniors shop for gifts, wrap presents, write cards and even trim the trees. They've also helped seniors become more cyber-savvy by helping them shop for gifts online or connect with family through Skype and Facebook. 58 percent of people over age 65 now use the internet to communicate with loved ones, according to the Pew Research Center.
"With more and more services available online, it is important that seniors feel plugged in and connected. Our qualified caregivers can help them feel more comfortable and safe when shopping on the Internet," Tourian said.
"They went into the closet and pulled everything out. I am just so grateful. I am so tickled," Potter said.