The success of Senior Resources’ Adopt-a-Senior program is evidence that the spirit of Christmas is alive and well on South Whidbey.
Nobody should be forgotten during the holiday season and the program tries to assure that.
In fact, it’s such a great program that hopefully it can expand in years to come, perhaps to other times of the year and in other places across the island. Other senior organizations could participate, as could businesses.
The program already includes younger people who are disadvantaged due to medical problems or other issues.
Though the name may sound a little silly, Adopt-a-Senior programs have been very successful across the nation. Many people like the idea that their donation will help one specific individual, whether or not they know who that person is.
This year 56 Whidbey Island residents donated gifts and care packages to Island Senior Resources, which in turn wrapped and delivered to the homes of 56 senior citizens this week.
There are many secluded back roads on South Whidbey where seniors quietly live on fixed incomes, Skye Dunn pointed out. He is the communications manager for Island Senior Resources.
For some seniors, the only person they see during an average week is their Meals on Wheels driver.
South Whidbey is a graying population and the need for such programs is increasing.
The statistics are clear.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the median age on the South End increased from 44 to 54 between 2000 and 2010. People over 65 represented nearly 24 percent of the 13,630 people within the South Whidbey School District — from Classic Road south.
Statewide, 14.1 percent of residents are age 65 and older. An analysis by the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation found people live longest in San Juan and Island counties, at 83.7 and 81.9 years, respectively.
It will take a great deal of effort and compassion to ensure that no seniors are left behind in the future. Programs like Adopt-a-Senior show that South Whidbey is on the right path.