Aging Matters continues gift-giving effort for Christmas


Aging Matters volunteers help to purchase, wrap and deliver gifts to local seniors.

SENIOR LIFE Courtesy of Aging Matters


Cindy Flachmeier is adept at purchasing gifts for seniors. As CEO of Aging Matters in Brevard, she oversees gift giving for 1,600-plus seniors in the county. This will be the fifth year the agency has orchestrated a holiday gift program for seniors.

Flachmeier’s agency depends on an abundance of volunteers willing to purchase, wrap and deliver gifts to local seniors who might otherwise not have much of a holiday. Donations by the community make the purchases possible.

“We target those seniors who don’t have anyone in the world or who may have family scattered around the country,” Flachmeier said.

“In many cases, these seniors may get a call from a family member and nothing else.”

Volunteers get in the spirit of the season to make holidays brighter for these elderly residents. For example, Michael Cadore, associate provost at Eastern Florida State College in Cocoa, enlists his whole family in delivering presents to the seniors.

“His siblings, his mom and his kids get dressed up in Christmas regalia and go from house to house delivering gifts,” Flachmeier said.

When selecting gifts, Aging Matters staff and volunteers depend on input from their clients.

“They don’t ask for frivolous things,” Flachmeier said.

“They want traditional things, like what we used to get as kids for Christmas.”

High on the wanted list are pajamas, robes, slippers, shirts, house dresses … and tea towels.

“They ask for tea towels frequently,” Flachmeier said.

Pillows and pillowcases also are in demand.

“Pillows are bulky items and seniors who are homebound cannot get them easily,” Flachmeier said.

To keep minds active, Aging Matters also purchases a supply of word puzzles and coloring books for adults.

For a touch of the outdoors without the upkeep, the agency sometimes purchases artificial plants as gifts.

For the best deals, Flachmeier heads to Walmart, Marshall’s or Ross, averaging $15 to $20 on each recipient.

Flachmeier encourages the community to join in the gift-giving effort with a monetary donation or actual gifts. Gifts should not be wrapped because agency staff need to inventory them to deliver them to the most appropriate recipient.

Gifts for seniors can be dropped off at Aging Matters’ headquarters at 3600 W. King St., Cocoa and at Sunflower House at Merritt Square Mall.

Volunteers are needed to purchase, wrap and deliver gifts. The project is particularly suited to large groups such as women’s or garden clubs. 

For more information, call