Senior Sleigh making wishes come true for Kentucky senior citizens

Missy Ward created the Senior Sleigh with hopes of bringing joy to senior citizens.
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 1:11 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - This Christmas season, you too can help out Santa.

The Senior Sleigh has been bringing joy to seniors in our area for 11 years now, and it’s grown exponentially.

“We started with 25 names, and then it went to 100,” said Senior Sleigh creator Missy Ward. “Then the next year, we went to three or four homes, and now we’re in six counties with about 1,500 people in 10 homes.”

Missy Ward created the Senior Sleigh with hopes of bringing joy to senior citizens.

“They don’t have transportation a lot of time. They can’t go anywhere,” said Ward. “They may have family who can’t drive or visit them, and they really don’t have any disposable income.”

Knowing the challenges seniors face, Ward decided it was time to spread some Christmas cheer.

“This is an opportunity for them to choose things that they like or that they need, and they’re able to get them through this program,” said activities coordinator for Pine Meadows Post Acute Paulette Baker.

Pine Meadows Post Acute has been taking part in Senior Sleigh for 10 years.

“The activities director talks to every resident and asks them if Santa’s gonna come, what are three things you would like?” said Ward.

“They love like a UK sweatshirt or a t-shirt or the magazine that they put out, so they can know who the players are,” said Baker.

One resident’s Christmas wish involved a certain picture.

“There was a resident who loved Hank Williams Jr., and so, through this program, she was able to get a photo of him,” said Baker. “Now the resident has his picture by her bedside, and she says every morning, ‘Hello, Hank.’ So she feels special. That’s a special gift.”

Once the residents figure out what they want, it’s time for the elves to get to work.

“We have all the tags hung on trees in my office at Rector Hayden in Lexington, also the Rector Hayden office at Georgetown, and the Rector Hayden office in Versailles,” said Ward.

Once you pick up a tag, purchase, and return the items, you’ll help make Christmas wishes come true.

“There are huge smiles, gratefulness, thankfulness, and tears. ‘Is this for me? I can’t believe it,’ said Baker. “With all the things that’s going on in the world today, what about love and blessings and giving? That’s what it’s all about.”

Missy says they need the wrapped presents back to their offices by December 15.

The homes participating this year are Homestead Post Acute, Pine Meadows, Cambridge Place, Sayre Christian, Arcadian Cove, Thompson-Hood Veteran Center, and Shelby Farms Senior Living.

Ward hopes that one day, the Senior Sleigh concept can go nationwide to help other residents.

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