More than 62,000 Hoosiers over age 65 live below the poverty line. They are often faced with choosing between prescription medications and groceries, or between buying a warm coat and paying a utility bill. These seniors are part of the “invisible population,” struggling with loneliness, health problems and poverty without a large support network. At The Salvation Army, we believe that our seniors deserve better.
In Indiana, over 23,600 nursing home residents and older shut-ins are visited by The Salvation Army each year. Salvation Army officers and volunteers make Christmas and Easter visits to bring holiday gifts and cheer, lifting the spirits of those who may feel like more of a burden than a blessing. In Central Indiana, the Gift of Warmth program reaches around 400 older adults who are home bound or in extended hospital stays during the cold winter months.
Many older adults live on a fixed income, which can make finding safe and affordable housing very difficult. The Salvation Army’s two Booth Manors, located in Columbus and Indianapolis, are home to almost 200 seniors. These senior living communities provide educational programming, health checks and great speakers who keep residents active and engaged.
All across Indiana, senior ministries programs at local Salvation Army Corps Community Centers give older adults the opportunity to live full lives in healthy, supportive environments. As more Baby Boomers retire, the expectations and needs of our senior citizens are growing and changing. Our ministries help these cherished members of our community find the fellowship, emotional care and active lifestyle they want and need. From luncheons and bingo to Bible study and volunteer opportunities, there are plenty of ways for seniors to get involved. The popular semi-annual Older Adult Luncheon brings 450 seniors from across the state together for entertainment, a hot meal and fellowship.
The highlight of the year for many of these seniors is Older Adult Camp, a real sleep-away camp opportunity tailored specifically to the interests and abilities of persons over the age of 55. The 706-acre Hidden Falls Camp, located near Bedford in southern Indiana, is a place where childhood dreams can finally come true and the kid inside has a chance to swim, fish and enjoy the great outdoors.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of The Salvation Army’s wonderful donors. Thanks to their generosity, we can make the Golden Years truly shine for Indiana seniors!
(To learn more about how you can help The Salvation Army provide services to seniors in our community, click on the Ways to Give tab at the top of the screen.)