Members of the Old Age Pensioners Organization (OAPO) were busy in December helping spread Christmas cheer to people living in senior care homes in Williams Lake.
On Tuesday, Dec. 14, a group of volunteers gathered at the Seniors Activity Centre to wrap gifts and address cards for seniors at Cariboo Place, Deni House and Seniors Village, said OAPO president Tina Derksen.
They compiled 32 gift bags that each contained a new pillow, a comforter and a throw blanket.
“We had quilted blankets made by our senior stitchers,” Derksen said. “There are about four women who get together and hand-stitch the blankets on Tuesday afternoons at the Seniors Activity Centre.”
Aside from the gift bags, the OAPO also gave each facility’s recreation department a big gift bag that contained crafts, stick-on art kits for residents to decorate their bathrooms, games, MP3 players and headphones so the residents can listen to music.
“We included a set of soft headphones in case someone is bedridden,” Derksen said.
It was the third year the OAPO put together gifts for seniors.
“We love doing these kind of projects,” Derksen said. “This is very direct and something we can do to help in our own community.”
Derksen said Dawn Best, an OAPO member, also works at Cariboo Place and has good information about what residents need. Throughout the year the OAPO also collects shampoo and body wash to distribute to long-term care homes because seniors are expected to provide their own.
Last month, long-term care residents in Merritt were transferred to facilities in 100 Mile House and Williams Lake due to excessive flooding from the Coldwater River.
Three in-patients were transferred to Cariboo Memorial Hospital and 27 long-term care residents to Cariboo Place and four to Deni House.
Interior Health confirmed Monday, Dec. 20, all Merritt residents were returned home.
“We would like to thank the many people that helped with the transportation of the residents and the people of Williams Lake who welcomed residents and provided care during that time,” an IH spokesperson noted.. “We’ve faced many challenges this year, each time Interior Health communities stepped up to help one another in times of need.”