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Cards ready with Christmas joy

Lucy Adlam left with volunteer Marilyn Hunt gathering Christmas cards to distribute to rest homes. PHOTOS/KAREN COLTMAN

Karen Coltman

Hundreds of Christmas cards are ready for delivery to Wairarapa elderly with no living relatives or, are known by Lucy Adlam and Marilyn Hunt to experience loneliness.

Many Wairarapa primary schools got their new entrant pupils making cards over the past couple of weeks and now they are piling up at Adlam’s Carterton home ready for distribution.

Adlam said the recipients particularly like the fact some of the cards are being made by children. She said many Wairarapa elderly don’t have relatives living nearby or no relatives alive and are entirely alone.

The cards are going to more than 300 Wairarapa residents.

“One five-year-old boy that has a friendship with an elderly woman drew a card for her that is of him with open arms giving her a hug,” Adlam said.

A handmade Christmas card made by an Opaki School pupil ready to go to an elderly Wairarapa resident.

This Joy for Generations project Adlam leads started a few years ago because she felt motivated to, “do something to alleviate loneliness for elderly people”.

The germination of her voluntary organisation came after she had taken her baby to some rest homes to visit people and found many residents took great pleasure from meeting her and seeing the baby.

“Some people were lying in bed during the day that I thought they were asleep, but when I let them see my baby, they leapt out of bed and started chatting and playing,” Adlam said.

“I realised that many people were missing social contact and company and responded well to children and babies.”

Adlam got permission for some elderly rest home residents to interact with pre-schoolers at a Greytown early learning centre, and now the group visits weekly.

“The pre-schoolers call the group of elderly visitors, their grand-friends, which is lovely,” Adlam said.

She was keen for young children to understand that loneliness was a real problem for many elderly and what joy it gave them to be with children.

Last week, Adlam spoke to a class of Hadlow Preparatory School children about the issue.

After the lockdown, Hunt, a retired diversional therapist, helped distribute art packs to the elderly with no family.

“No one is there for them. People don’t realise some people are completely alone and have no one to talk to at all and nothing interesting to go and do that involves others,” Hunt said.

Both women said during the covid-19 lockdown that the lack of contact many elderly had with ‘the outside world’ was very difficult for them. They were part of a daily phone call roster to help relieve the loneliness. [Age Concern also organised this voluntary phoning network.]

Christmas cards [handmade or not] with a message can be delivered to the Times-Age office on Chapel St before December 10 or, dropped to Take Note or Almos Books in Carterton and Masterton library.

  • People can contact Adlam directly for more information on 0204 130 8853.

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