Early this year, the activities coordinator of a local assisted living facility contacted me to see if I’d be interested in crafting each month with some of the ladies living at the facility. I jumped at the chance, because it would give me the opportunity to work with women older than I am. HA! Just kidding!! Honestly, I thought it would be a very rewarding experience – and it has been. Watching the smiles and surprise on the faces of these beautiful women who thought they couldn’t possibly recreate a project – and then did – has been priceless.
It’s been challenging to design projects that won’t be too difficult for older – and sometimes very arthritic – fingers, yet won’t insult the women’s intelligence with their simplicity. At the same time, I want to bring ideas that will cause them to use those muscles, and will be something the ladies can actually use. And that’s the hardest part. Even these 90 year-olds have electronic readers – so bookmarks were kind of giggled at. And, really, how many paper flowers does one need in her room? So I was thrilled when I realized that I was being sent an extra My Paper Pumpkin kit last month. 24 pinwheels?? Each lady could make a little bag of cookies and decorate it with the pinwheel. I was psyched…
…until I got to Spring Arbor this morning. No one wanted to come out of their rooms. No one! I had images of me at 200 pounds after dejectedly eating all the cookies one by one to assuage my depression. But I decided to fill all the bags with cookies anyway. Maybe someone would change her mind. One lady was putting a puzzle together, so she walked over to see what we were doing. She, of course, was up for anything. I showed her how to make a pinwheel, but her favorite part was tying the bow around the top of the cookie bag. She tied a super tight knot first, so (in her words), “They’ll have to work for it.” This lady was a master bow-tier. She’s much better than I am – and she enjoyed it too. She reached for another bag and asked, “How many are we making?” “As many as you want!” responded Lois, the activities coordinator. Let me tell you – this lady was a bow-tying machine. I was seriously impressed. And then I heard a chuckle over my shoulder.
victim – er, crafter. She only had the use of one arm – but use it she did! She could hold a pinwheel while I poked the brad through the center, or she could poke while I held. And she was excellent at gluing the pinwheels to the bags.
After we’d made about 5 bags, Lois thought it would be a wonderful idea to give the bags to Hurst House. And this is when things got really exciting. Hurst Hospitality House is a haven for visitors from outside the area who are receiving care (or have family members receiving care) at the hospital. It’s kind of our local Ronald McDonald House, funded by donations and staffed by volunteers. Spring Arbor residents send a basket of goodies over each month so the visitors will have something home-baked and comforting.
Before we were finished, there were five of us working an assembly line. Lois made the pinwheels, one of the ladies added a twisty tie, one tied the bow, and the fourth glued the pinwheel to the bag. I cut twine, filled bags with cookies and jumped in wherever there was a backlog. We also added flowers to the straws that came with the kit.
Lois and I realized today that the women would much rather make something for someone else than for themselves. It makes them feel needed and important, which they most definitely are. So from now on, the project each month will be items that will be donated to Hurst House. I’m so looking forward to next month. There are a couple new products in the Stampin’ Up! Holiday catalog that will be perfect for these projects, so I’m already thinking of fun ideas.
Thanks for stopping by Stamping with Buffy! Have a wonderful day!