“Many seniors in our area go without heat during the cold months in order to pay for groceries, medications and other essential items,” said Mary Foley, marketing director for Senior Citizens Inc. “For more than seven years, (our organization) has distributed blankets to those seniors in need. This year, with the help of Georgia Natural Gas and Starbucks Coffee, the 2011 Blanket Drive will serve communities in six counties in Coastal Georgia.”
Seniors, unlike younger people, are physically unable to tolerate cold temperatures.
“As we age our skin thins; so seniors have thinner skin than younger people. Also, as we age our circulation slows down,” Foley said.
“Older adults often make less body heat because of a slower metabolism and less physical activity,” Coastal Health District spokesperson Sally Silbermann said. “That’s why prolonged exposure to severe cold can be dangerous for that population. It’s a good idea for neighbors and family members to check on elderly residents whenever possible, especially when temperatures are extreme.”
Foley said Senior Citizens Inc. is being proactive by collecting and distributing blankets to area elderly.
“Our mission is to help seniors age successfully,” she said. The goal is to help seniors maintain their independence and stay in their own homes, Foley added.
“The cold temperatures don’t look like they’re going to let up,” she said.
“We do this every year,” Senior Citizens Inc. Executive Director Patti Lyons said. “We start with our Meals on Wheels clients because they’re homebound. We give blankets to our volunteers to hand to seniors they know are in need.”
Liberty County residents can drop off blankets at the Liberty County Senior Activity Center, any branch of The Heritage Bank, any Starbuck’s Coffee shop or bring them to the Senior Citizens, Inc. office in Savannah through Jan. 31.
“If someone takes a blanket to Starbuck’s they’ll get a free coffee,” Lyons said.
“We prefer the blankets be new,” Foley said. “Size or color doesn’t matter.”
In addition to the annual blanket drive, Senior Citizens Inc. can help seniors get discounts on their utility bills, assist with their prescriptions and provide them transportation, Lyons said.
Seniors who want to receive a blanket should bring a photo ID when they stop by the Liberty County Senior Activity Center at 800 Tupelo Trail.
Senior Citizens, Inc. also provides area seniors such services as Senior Companions, In-Home Support and an Adult Day Care Center.
For more information, go to www.seniorcitizens-inc.org or call 912-236-0363 or toll free 866-579-2116.