Adopt-a-grandparent was started by Nicole Allison in 2013, after noticing that many elderly residents didn’t have family to spend Christmas with. She decided they needed a more personalised and heart-warming way to share the love at Christmas and founded Adopt-a-grandparent.

“We currently partner with two local nursing homes – Edenvale in Glen Eden and Bindaree in Boyne Island. Each year we get a list of residents and some information on their interests or items the nurses have noticed they need. We set a few days in December where visits can happen, and a main event at each facility on a weekend. We then advertise anonymously via our Facebook event page and pair up local families with their chosen “adopted” grandparent. These people/families purchase a small gift for their adoptee and bring it along to wish them a Merry Christmas. We also organise a few hours of entertainment for the grandies with people signing up to sing a song, play guitar or tell a poem,” Nicole said.

The Adopt-a-grandparent program provides residents with a unique and memorable experience, and gives them a break from the routine of a nursing home environment. Some of the residents even carry their presents around on their walkers all day to show them off.

“I’d like to thank my amazing friend and volunteer Teoni Stephens for assisting over the years and stepping up to coordinate both of our 2019 events, which have hit a little too close to home for me personally this year. I look forward to seeing the photos and hearing the stories of all the wonderful new friends being made this Christmas.”

Adopt-a-grandparent has received overwhelming support this year, with most positions already filled. If you’re interested in getting involved, you can visit the Facebook page ‘Adopt a Grandparent Gladstone’ and check the associated 2019 event to see if any spots are available (adoptees or entertainment vacancies) at either of the events.

If you do miss out this year, Nicole suggests checking with other nursing homes to see if they have a resident in mind who might enjoy a Christmas visitor and/or gift. She also recommends getting involved in the Christmas Appeals run by UnitingCare, Roseberry and Anglicare, which gather gifts for family and elderly locals experiencing financial hardship or difficulty.