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Projects Bring Sunshine to Seniors During Pandemic


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Senior womanWhile COVID-19 has threatened the physical, mental and emotional health of many older adults, companies and their creative employees are stepping up to spread love and provide isolated seniors with vital essentials.

Even before coronavirus gripped her community, Home Instead CAREGiver and part-time office staffer Jennifer Smith of Norwell, MA, noticed what delight her senior client took in the cards and pictures Jennifer’s children created for her.

In addition to providing messages for holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Jennifer’s daughter, 10-year-old Zoe, had written poems that the 86-year-old senior always placed prominently on her refrigerator. “They love to color and draw,” Jennifer said. “My son, Abel, 4, will go through a blue marker in a week.”

During the start of the lockdown in her state, Jennifer and her family were feeling the dread and discouragement gripping the country. “I started thinking that everyone, particularly seniors, needed a morale boost,” Jennifer said. “I also noticed the days seemed easier when the sun was shining.” That was the start of the art and card campaign Sunshine for Seniors. To help spread the word, Jennifer launched a Facebook page complete with a logo Zoe had designed.

Jennifer enlisted the help of her community and has a good start on the campaign. To date she has collected 180 pieces of art, which will be distributed by Home Instead CAREGivers. Her goal is to collect between 200 and 250 pieces so she can give a package of art, cards, letters and notes to all her company’s clients. If she gets more, she can reach out to other seniors feeling lonely and isolated, she said.

“Clients are at home and the programs they would go to during the day are closed,” she said. “It’s been sad to see the decline in clients, and they’re not getting the interactions they would normally get, but we’re seeing caregivers working above and beyond.”

Home Instead Director of Community Outreach Jay Tolman said the artwork “means the world” to their clients. He is focused on what they can do for the elderly living alone and how to make their days a little bit better.

“To us it’s a simple gesture,” said Jennifer, who works for the Todd Anderson Home Instead office. “To them, it’s so much more. It gives a sense of hope that this too shall pass.”

“So many needs have arisen during COVID-19, and there continues to be the potential for great acts of kindness during this unprecedented time of challenges for older adults,” noted Home Instead CEO Jeff Huber.

Check out these uplifting projects from local Home Instead Senior Care businesses around the country:

  • Mike Levine of Venice, FL, developed a program to deliver food and essentials to older adults throughout the community.
  • Lauren Langevin and her daughter of North Dartmouth, MA, are not only sewing masks for CAREGivers and healthcare workers, but they are also collecting letters from the community that will be delivered to isolated seniors in their Adopt-a-Senior program.
  • After finding that one of her clients had no toilet paper, hand soap or disinfecting wipes, Dannette Arnell of Salt Lake City, UT, encouraged her family, friends and community to share extra essential items. The generous donations benefitted 50 to 75 local seniors.
  • Preston and Aimee Roth’s business in Portland, OR, is delivering flowers, coloring books and tablets to seniors who are isolated.

Anyone can be a part of helping older adults, whether it’s through local senior-care organizations or simply looking out for their neighbors and friends. One easy way is Ready to Care a social movement to make the world a better place for older adults. Sign up to get weekly tips, care missions, and inspiration from others delivered right to your phone. Or join the Ready to Care Facebook group to connect with other seniors and their families.

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