During Week 2, we cut newspaper into 8"x6" pieces that will be used to line cages at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center this spring when there will be many orphaned and injured birds.
Which brings us now to Week 3 - helping senior citizens. I chose Week 3's activity to focus on seniors within our family (versus seniors who live in the community or in nursing homes) because the girls have grandparents who can no longer drive. My parents rely on others to help them with errands and chores around their home.
We visited my parents this week, and my mom had a long list of things with which she and my dad needed help. First on the list: getting the bird feeders filled.
Sophia and Olivia transferred the birdseed from bags into washed pickle containers from Burger King (a great way to reuse these buckets). This keeps the birdseed protected from pests as well as from the seed spilling out of the bag if the bag is accidently ripped or it falls off the workbench.
The girls transferred birdseed from bags to containers with lids
for their grandparents
After filling four birdseed feeders; and repairing and filling a suet feeder, I shoveled their deck a bit so there was easier (and safer) access to the feeders there. There are two feeders on the deck railing so they can watch the birds while they eat meals. Within five minutes of filling the bird feeders, a nuthatch flew in, found some dried fruit, and flew off with a piece of fruit in its beak.
Since both my parents can no longer drive, they depend on others to take them to do errands. I took my dad for a haircut and beard trim while Sophia and Olivia helped my mom at the grocery store and pharmacy (right at the grocery store). My mom has challenges with her vision, so she relied on the girls to be able to read the packages and cans to make sure they were selecting what she needed, and to examine the produce and meat to make sure it looked okay.
Took them to other places that they needed to shop at: the meat market, Costco, bank, and their church to pick up items for the quilting group that meets at my parents' home twice a month to make quilts for people who are homeless or women who are escaping from domestic violence situations.
While at their church, I talked with the receptionist and another woman on staff about some needs that my parents had regarding transportation to and from church. If they are unable to find someone, I requested that a priest visit them to give them Communion (my parents are Catholic).
Without being able to drive a car since December 23rd or having a ride to/from church, this has been quite upsetting to my parents who were use to attending church weekly. I'm hoping that by talking with people at their church in person that something positive will happen soon for my parents.
The next stop was back at my parents' home. While I unloaded their groceries and donations for the quilting group, Olivia walked with my dad to take the garbage can to the end of the driveway. He has fallen quite a few times this winter, so her job was to walk with him.
Olivia walked with Papa to the end of the driveway as he took
out the garbage. She went with him to check the mail.
Sophia's job was to take their recycling container to the end of the driveway.
Sophia taking her grandparents' recycling container
to the end of the driveway.
It was 3:30 p.m., and time to head back home after being gone for 6 1/2 hours. (The girls were tired, and Olivia ended up falling asleep on the way back home.)
My parents were both very happy with everything that we were able to do, and waved to us as we left. They called in the evening to thank us again for helping, and wanted to let us know that they enjoyed spending the day with us...and that they had a good dinner (they picked up a ready-to-eat meal from Costco).
It was a good day...and one that we all enjoyed.
There are many other ways to help seniors (if you don't have one or more seniors in your family). On the Doing Good Together website, there are several suggestions for helping seniors in the community.
Adopt a grandparent
Ask the volunteer coordinator at a local nursing home about the process for matching families and residents, then choose an elderly person to visit regularly. Spend time talking, reading, writing letters, playing games, and simply strolling. This is an opportunity that families with children of any age can enjoy.
Assist an elderly person living at home
Our older neighbors could use help with laundry, yard work, and house cleaning. If you don’t know of a senior who needs help, contact an organization in your area that serves the elderly. This can be a one-time commitment or a weekly or monthly affair.
Initiate or help with senior activities
Contact a local nursing home or senior center to see what type of activity would be welcomed. Some ideas: Give a party; assist with celebrations, games or outings; plan and carry out a craft night; share a hobby; help with Bingo; perform a family talent show; escort residents on a walk; or be a lunch buddy.