Articles, activities for boomers & seniors
What happens when a dozen ladies and gentlemen get together to “Sit N Sew?” About five dozen Fidget Quilts, two large trash bags of neck rolls and two plastic sleeping bag mats – that’s what!! Participants at the Easton Area Lifestyle Campus (EALC) in Forks Township, part of the Northampton County Area Agency on Aging’s network of Senior Centers, have been hand-crafting items for their community members since November 2015. It all started with an idea from Deb Mertz, Director of EALC. “I wanted to find a fun and meaningful activity for the participants and came across a pattern for Fidget Quilts and it just grew from there”, said Deb.
A Fidget Quilt is a small quilt made with squares of different textured cloths. Some of the squares are often adorned with buttons, zippers, or other objects to help busy the nervous hands of an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient. To date, members of “Sit N Sew” at EALC have donated over 60 Fidget Quilts which RSVP was able to distribute to local nursing homes, an adult day center and early childhood intervention programs.
After one of the nursing homes received the quilts, they asked if the “Sit N Sew” members could make neck rolls for residents. “Of course we can!” they replied. In March, they delivered about 30 neck rolls to nursing-home residents.
Most of the material used to make the quilts and neck rolls comes from the EALC participants, but they’ve also received donations from other organizations.
The “Sit N Sew” members don’t only work with fabric. They’ve crocheted sleeping-bag mats out of plastic grocery bags turned into strips of plarn (plastic bag yarn). The mats were donated to the homeless. The mats are used to keep sleeping bags protected from ground moisture and dirt. It takes 500 plastic bags to make one mat! Bag donations came from participants and their friends as well as local supermarkets.
According to Deb, she’s observed more liveliness at the center since these projects started. “For the participants, life still has meaning, they’re not too old to give back and doing so just makes their hearts soar!!” One participant feels like she’s “paying forward for all the good I’ve gotten in my life.” While another said, “It lightens your heart to know that you’ve brought something into someone’s life that brings a smile to their face.”
Almost all seniors have some skill or experience to contribute and Senior Corps RSVP is all about making the connection between those who want to help and those who need help.
You Can “Pay It Forward” Also
Help Keep Our Seniors Safe And Independent
Many lonely and isolated people are looking for a friendly face, an extra ear or a steady food supply. Family is gone, neighbors are busy and the quiet is hard to bear. Your extra hour or two can make a real difference. Consider helping in one of the following ways:
Provide rides to and from appointments for senior citizens, based on your availability.
Deliver nutritious meals along with a friendly smile to homebound neighbors.
Shop for someone who can’t get to the grocery store for healthy foods or accompany someone to and through the grocery store once or twice per month.
Help Young Students Improve Reading Skills
In the early grades students learn to read. By fourth grade they need to be able to read to learn. Join the Literacy Corps. Work with the same small group of young students each week. Teachers will provide activities, detailed directions and all materials