BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Like most retired people, seniors gathered at the Raleigh County Commission on Aging in Beckley on Tuesday, November 14, 2023, said many of them live on a fixed income, much like retired people of past generations.
Lavern Austin, 68, of Beckley, told 59News she and a number of other grandparents in the group are also rearing grandchildren, which means special costs during this time of year.
“I would not want them to be raised by any other person, than myself and my husband, because I have a thing with foster care,” said Austin, who recently moved to Beckley from Ohio. “My main thing is, I love the holidays, but you know, sometimes we have families over, and you want to have enough food, not just for you, but for the families too.”
Austin said affording presents for two teen granddaughters can be tough, and she doesn’t mind accepting holiday help to make sure the grandkids have a good Christmas.
Crystal Foley, who directs social services for the organization’s adult daycare, said a number of seniors rear their families in other cities and return to the area to retire.
She said holidays are particularly difficult for those seniors who don’t have family to visit them.
“You know, places like this, you have seniors coming in here, and this is the only place they get to celebrate the holidays,” said Foley. “So, they depend on us to e their family, to be their socialization through those holidays, to help get them through.”
Foley said this time of year gives those in the community a special opportunity to keep the spirit of the season.
“Come out and volunteer, you know, if you see somewhere like Helping Hands, or the Carpenter’s Corner, even, just go up and help out a little bit,” said Foley.
She added donations are a good way for busy people to help make the holidays special for others.