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The great way businesses are helping seniors feel less lonely this Christmas

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Dmitry Kalinovsky | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 12/22/22

GlamourGals' Foundation is helping to create important links with the vulnerable elderly.

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One of the hard things the elderly face at Christmas is being alone. Whether they’ve lost their spouse, are far away from loved ones, or are living in a nursing facility, the feeling of loneliness and isolation can be very distressing. So a foundation has invited businesses to lessen the pain by sending letters to vulnerable seniors.

Marianne Axelrod and Courtney Council work with Massage Envy, which has a franchise in Hamden, Connecticut. The company signed up to help the elderly through GlamourGals Foundation Inc. — a non-profit organization aiming to build connections with seniors.

Leaning on their past profession of working in a nursing home Axelrod and Council had a strong desire to help seniors in need. “This is a no-brainer for me,’ Council shared with New Haven Register, adding: “There were plenty of times throughout my five years that I witnessed family members that don’t show up. Around the holiday season especially, that’s when our patients were the loneliest.”

Axelrod also shared how her experience in a nursing home, which began when she was in high school, helped her empathize with the elderly. When she heard about the Glamour Gals’ program, aptly named “Dear Friend,” she explained that “it was like a spark went off.”

And that “spark” spread. Axelrod and Council encouraged their customers and staff to join them in sending letters. They left the necessary stationery in their ‘tranquility room’ for their clients to use while they were waiting to be seen. As a result the business has been able to send hundreds of letters to seniors.

An inspiring grandmother

GlamourGals’ main role is to help teenagers on their volunteer program bond with the elderly through complimentary makeovers. The founder and CEO of GlamorGals, Rachel Doyle, shared how the whole makeover idea was a great way to break the ice between the generations. As she pointed out, “If you don’t know how to start a conversation with a senior, you ask them, ‘What color would you like your nails painted?’ … It really helps to get the conversation going.”

It was the passing of Doyle’s grandmother, and her wish to honor her, that inspired her to start the foundation while she was still in high school. Now, 23 years later, she’s blending fashion and beauty to make valuable connections.

During the COVID pandemic the foundation had to adapt and find new ways to help seniors who were even more isolated. Thanks to the “My Dear Friend” program, up to 100,000 letters have been sent out to seniors in nursing homes and Alzheimer’s units.

While Axelrod and Council’s idea of getting their customers to lend a helping hand as they wait for their treatments is proving very successful, there’s nothing to stop all of us putting pen to paper and writing a thoughtful note or card to the elderly in our community, whether they’re in a nursing home or just next door.

Tags:
Acts of KindnessChristmasElderly
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