CLEVELAND — A pair of young women is making it their mission to let seniors in nursing homes know they’re loved.
Holly Masters grabbed handfuls of shreds of paper to line the bottom of bright orange cardboard boxes she and Ali Izzo-Linton packed with gifts for people they’ve never met.
“Miss Betty is getting the cutest little pair of shoes,” Izzo-Linton said as she placed them inside a box.
You could say the two twenty-somethings have old souls.
“We’re very close with our families and with older adults in our families, and that’s kind of what’s led us on this path,” said Izzo-Linton.
It’s path that has the occupational therapists granting the wishes of strangers.
“Each facility will send us a wish list from each resident,” said Masters. “And these are residents that either don’t have family anymore or don’t have a lot of visitors.”
The women then surprise the seniors with special deliveries.
“When we were first doing our clinicals out in the field, we noticed that a lot of seniors didn’t get regular visitors and they didn’t have the means to get these things that we’re sending them,” said Izzo-Linton.
“Our main goal was to remind seniors that they have a purpose and they’re not forgotten,” said Masters.
So far they’ve sent more than 700 care packages across the country through their company Purpose Therapy Box.
The COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders led to an increased need.
“I think it really made people think when they had to stay home and they were so bored,” said Masters. “You know, this is the reality every single day for a majority of residents in nursing homes and older adults that are stuck at home.”
As pandemic restrictions continue to lift, in-person visits to deliver boxes locally to folks like Bonnie Wolfe can also resume.
“It means the world to me,” said Wolfe. “It lets me know that I’m not forgot.”
Wolfe’s lived in a nursing home facility for about six years.
“It just gives me cold chills,” she said. “To think that you took time out of your busy life to offer the time.”
A simple gesture, with a meaningful message.
“You made my day today,” said Wolfe.
“I’m glad,” said Izzo-Linton. “You made ours, too.”
Sponsors are needed to support the cost of sending the personalized Purpose Therapy Boxes. Right now there’s a waiting list of about 20 senior care facilities with residents in need of items.
For more information, visit purposetherapybox.com.