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RIPLEY • Tippah County Health & Rehab has started a program to help enrich the lives of its residents while providing encouragement during this time of restricted visitation.

The Adopt a Grandparent program's focus is to combat loneliness and to let residents know someone is thinking about them throughout the year. Sponsors are asked to call residents by phone or video, send cards, write letters, and give "happy bags" at least once a month.

"We are doing gift bags where sponsors can buy their own bag or give money and we will buy a little goodie bag," said Connie Jenkins, social services director at the nursing home. She said the bags could contain inexpensive items such as snacks, socks, and other items residents need.

Sponsors can choose a resident to sponsor, or one can be assigned to them.

"When a sponsor gets assigned to a certain person, I can tell them what they need and what kind of snacks they can have. I'll let them know the resident's birthday and what they like and stuff like that."

Jenkins stresses the importance that attention from the community is to the residents. She says residents especially love getting cards and other mail.

"When residents get mail, they are so excited, 'I got a card! I got a card!" Then they show it to everybody who walks by. Something like that brightens their day. It's not about spending a lot of money; it's about giving the residents attention."

The program is just getting off the ground, but several staff members from Tippah County Hospital have already adopted residents. Tippah Health & Rehab currently has 35 residents but can house 40 in total.

For more information on the Adopt a Grandparent program or to be a sponsor, call 837-2201 or email conniej@tc-hs.org.

"We are going to do this until the end of the year, and if it works out, then we might do it again in January," concluded Jenkins.

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