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Seniors surprised as goodie bag campaign delivers isolation joy

Senior Pamper Packs
Senior Pamper Packs on a table
Resident with his Senior Pamper Pack

Knox’s Seniors Festival went online this year, turning the usually in-person festival of activities and social outings into a virtual celebration.

But for lucky 200 seniors, the Festival not only gifted a distraction from COVID-19 lockdowns, but also a surprise pamper pack delivered straight to their doorsteps.

Linda Keenahan, who works with Council’s Inclusive Communities programs, said the Celebrating Seniors Goodie Bag was designed as an additional way to connect with some of Knox’s senior community.

“People have been really grateful,” Linda said.

“For some, this festival has been their only window to the outside world, and they have really valued that.”

The goodie bag idea originated during discussions with the Lions Club, which then evolved into a Knox-wide distribution to nominated senior residents.

“Nominations were open not just to the most vulnerable, but to people who have done something good for the community,” Linda said.

“It was also a way to reach those who may be missing out, particularly if they don’t have access to the internet. Those who aren’t connected virtually can become more vulnerable.”

Nominations included people living alone who were unable to see family, and those experiencing extra challenges, such as a woman whose husband was in ICU as a result of COVID-19.

“The goodie bags made them feel special and valued,” Linda said.

“It has been a year where people have lost their social connections, and because the goodie bags were out of the blue and they hadn’t been told they were nominated, it came as a big surprise to them. Some said it felt like Christmas!”

“Traditionally, the Seniors Festival has been a huge event and the whole seniors community gets behind it,” Linda said.

“This year it was scaled right back, because most clubs haven’t been meeting. It’s been really hard for everybody.”

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