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Elderly advocates: Visit Florida's senior population this holiday

November 26, 2009
By Brittany Benner

Tallahassee, Florida -- Thanksgiving is a time when families travel to spend time together and stuff themselves silly with turkey, but not everyone can afford to travel to meet loved ones because of the economy.

That's why officials from Florida's Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program are encouraging Floridians to spend one hour with a senior citizen or long-term care resident during the holiday weekend.

Reports indicate there are more than 160,000 residents at long term care facilities across the state.

"The holidays can be a lonely time for folks who don't have families or have lost their spouse or significant other as well as friends and family," said Aubrey Posey, Legal Advocate for the Ombudsman program.

Spending time with these residents can boost their morale and health.

"They participate more, they have sort of a buy in the activities that are going on at the facility, they eat more, they gain weight," said Posey. "I think some of us that are around people and can leave, go anywhere we want to at times, forget how important it is, that social interaction peace."

Ten thousand more residents live at long-term care facilities than they did during Thanksgiving last year. Elder advocates encourage Floridians to call those elderly relatives, even if you can't visit them.

Governor Charlie Crist also visited residents at the Sterling Aventura Assisted Living Center, in Aventura Wednesday morning.

If you're interested in volunteering or finding ways to assist a facility in need, call 1-888-831-0404.