How do you get the items you need each day if you can’t run to the store? How do you keep your teeth and hair clean if you don’t have enough left over after paying for medication to buy grooming products? Many seniors face this predicament every day. 

In keeping with the spirit of the holiday season, “Remember in December” will deliver personal care items like toothpaste and shampoo to homebound seniors in Forsyth County, N.C. These donations go a long way toward allowing these individuals to remain in their homes. This holiday, you can get involved by giving at several area locations. 

Seniors Struggling to Afford Basic Necessities

The majority of senior citizens live on a fixed income. Those with sufficient resources can invest their money to help it continue growing through their golden years. However, for most seniors, their monthly check remains the same, even as prices continue to rise. This disparity creates an economic hardship for many. 

Those who rely on Social Security alone find it hardest to make ends meet. Even though the government allows a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) each year, it rarely keeps pace with inflation. More than half of seniors reported that while their living expenses increased by an average of $79 per month, their COLA adjustment was only $5. The difference between the two figures could easily cover a utility bill or two meals in a casual restaurant. 

Instead, this disparity creates a financial crunch at a time of life when seniors can no longer take on a side hustle to pick up the slack. As a result, many need to make hard choices — do you pay for food to warm your belly or toothpaste to clean your teeth afterward?

It may seem obvious to prioritize food. However, poor hygiene can lead to adverse health outcomes. Many seniors, for example, benefit from an electric toothbrush and flosser because they can no longer manipulate manual versions. However, these tools cost money — a resource many do not have. The resulting poor oral hygiene can cause periodontal disease, which increases their chances of developing dementia and other diseases. 

Inadequate hygiene also contributes to senior loneliness. Many experts suggest that seniors get involved in activities like volunteering and hobbies to meet new people. However, if you feel self-conscious about how you look or smell, you may shy away from such opportunities to connect. 

How You Can Participate in Remember in December 

Are you interested in getting involved? Fantastic! Piedmont Federal Savings Bank is partnering with Senior Services in North Carolina to raise donations. You can bring yours to any Piedmont Federal Savings Bank in Forsyth County. Look for the big red box in the lobby. You can also drop off your donations at 2895 Shorefair Drive, the home of Senior Services. 

If you’re making your shopping list, consider adding the following items to it. 

  • Pajamas and blankets: Many seniors struggle to stay warm because they hesitate to run up their gas or electric bill. Warm clothing can go a long way toward ensuring their comfort and warmth. 
  • Shaving and grooming supplies: You can bring items like electric or manual toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, etc. — personal hygiene items are in demand. 
  • Non-perishable food: Many seniors struggle with hunger, as well as hygiene. You can donate non-perishable goods like pasta and canned goods. 

If You Live Outside the Forsyth Area 

If you don’t reside near Forsyth County, N.C., you can still help out a senior you care about — or a stranger — this giving season. You can contact area nursing homes to see which patients don’t receive any visitors or gifts. Many participate in adopt-a-senior programs, but if not, you can start one in your area. You can still donate similar items — check with the center to see which gifts they need most. Best of all, you can give the gift of your presence. No one deserves to feel lonely and forgotten over the holidays, but many seniors do. 

Perhaps you have an elderly family member you haven’t seen in a while. Give them a call and arrange a visit. While you’re there, ask them what they need help with the most. Next time you go to the store, buy items on their wish list and make sure they’re well-stocked before you depart. 

Hygiene is a matter of good health and pride for everyone, regardless of age or socioeconomic status. This year, make sure to show seniors you care by remembering in December!

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About Author

Kate Harveston covers social justice and human rights issues. She graduated with a Bachelors in English and minored in Criminal Justice, so she enjoys writing about anything related to the intersections of law, politics and culture. For more of her writing, you can visit her blog, Only Slightly Biased.

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