Sunday, December 06, 2009

“Let Happiness Ring” Celebrating its 20th Year, Connects Seniors with Loved Ones for the Holidays

[We have received the following press release and are pleased to publish it for our readers.]

DE PERE, Wis. — December 4, 2009 — While many people delight in the holidays, the season can actually be a lonely time for some, especially seniors. Fixed incomes and long distances mean many cannot share the season with family and friends. To alleviate the feelings of social isolation, a unique program called “Let Happiness Ring” is helping to bring joy to older Wisconsinites.

Sponsored by Humana, “Let Happiness Ring” provides free, unlimited use of telephones for seniors during the holidays. Special phone lines are installed at the De Pere Community Center, and seniors are invited to make free long distance calls within the continental United States. Over the course of 20 years, Let Happiness Ring has paid for an estimated 20,000 calls and 160,000 minutes of talk time, allowing seniors to speak with distant family members, reconnect with far away friends and catch up with military buddies.

“Let Happiness Ring is a meaningful service that brings people together at this special time of year,” said Jerry Ganoni, president of Humana Small Business, Humana Specialty Products and HumanaOne. “It’s so gratifying to receive letters of thanks from seniors who were able to laugh with their grandchildren or contact a long lost friend without having to worry about their phone bill.”

This season, “Let Happiness Ring” will have phones in six Wisconsin locations, including one location in the De Pere area and five locations in and around Madison. Dates and hours vary, but most locations are open weekdays beginning December 7 and running through December 24 (see attached schedule). The program is open to all seniors – participants do not need to be Humana members to take advantage of the free calls. While walk-ins are welcome, seniors are encouraged to call their local center in advance to reserve phone time.

Depression is the most prevalent mental health issue among older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and seasonal affective disorder is part of that.

“Humana has provided a great opportunity for seniors in our community with the Let Happiness Ring program,” said Lori Pazdera, senior program coordinator, De Pere Community Center. “Some come in to make that one yearly call, and others may call three or four old army buddies and reminisce through laughter and tears. It’s a great chance to catch up with long lost friends and distant family members.”

“The Let Happiness Ring program is one that many of our seniors look forward to each year,” said Diane Mikelbank, director of the Monona Senior Center in Monona, Wis. “The program allows the seniors to enjoy the stories and conversations of their loved ones without having to watch the clock or worry about adding to the phone bill.”

“Let Happiness Ring” 2009 – Green Bay – area location and hours

• De Pere Community Center, 600 South Grant St., (920) 336-6054 or (920) 339-4097 (December 7 to 24; weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; please call ahead to reserve phone time)

“Let Happiness Ring” 2009 – Madison-area locations and hours

• Colonial Club, 301 Blankenheim Lane, Sun Prarie, (608) 837-4611, ext. 101 (December 7 to 18; weekdays only; times vary, please call to reserve phone time)

• Fitchburg Senior Center, 5510 East Lacy Road, Madison, (608) 270-4290 (December 7 to 28; weekdays only; times vary, please call to reserve phone time)

• Madison Senior Center, 330 West Mifflin St., Madison, (608) 266-6581 (December 7 to 25; weekdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; some evenings and Sundays available; Christmas Day 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; please call to reserve phone time)

• Monona Senior Center, 1011 Nichols Road, Monona, (608) 222-3415 (December 7 to 23; weekdays only, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; please call to reserve phone time)

• Oregon Area Senior Center, 219 Park St., Oregon, (608) 835-5801 (December 7 to 23; weekdays only, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; please call to reserve phone time)

If you have loved ones who are seniors living in wither of these areas and they could benefit from this program, please pass the information along to them.


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