Remembering our Elders over the Holidays

The holiday season is a time when our lives seemingly speed up as we maintain the frenetic pace of a jam-packed calendar of activities, largely self-imposed and guaranteed to cause stress. None of us particularly looks forward to the pressure of holiday shopping navigating the retail enticements of sales of yet more stuff that frankly enrich our lives not one scintilla. Rushing through the market to buy all that our family gatherings will demand and then squashing all that extra bounty into our freezers and refrigerators. Shall we traipse to the Christmas tree farm hunting and gathering for ourselves, or simply purchase a live tree, or dig through the attic for last year’s seasonal ornamentations? Let’s not forget ‘last day to shop to guarantee Christmas delivery’ for the ever-lengthening list of cards and presents, and the obligatory round of parties. Who doesn’t relish the thought of being stuck in some distant airport due to flight cancellations? Most would agree, this time of year is simply exhausting!

Consider the words of Calvin Coolidge:

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

In a perfect world we would practice kindness and caring all year round, but at this time of year when many do remember the plight of those less fortunate; whether grappling the ravages of poverty or food insecurity, charitable gifts to causes that resonate with a deeper wish to help others are heavily anticipated by non-profits everywhere. At Peabody Home we ask you take a step back and consider the feelings of isolation and loneliness many of our elders suffer during the ‘giving season’. Whether living alone, or in an assisted living community such as ours, elders really feel the pinch of loneliness more acutely at this time of year. Sadness and feelings of aloneness are associated with an increased risk of late-life dementia although not with the leading cause. Further, loneliness has been linked to cognitive decline in the elderly; simply put, No Man Is an Island – we humans are just not wired for solitude.

We recognize too that family members of isolated adults wrestle with their own guilt knowing their loved ones can’t enjoy the holidays like they used to. Perhaps the memories of those no longer with us are especially poignant. I urge you dear reader, to step lightly off the whirling carousel of cheer and take the time to reach out to a senior in the community. Now is the time to make a call to a senior to check in, send a surprise package, something small and thoughtful, or send a card wishing a senior warmth and comfort.

Could your charitable gift be one of the most precious commodities of all – your time?

We’re expanding our Volunteer Program and have many opportunities to get involved for just a few hours a week or on a schedule that works for your volunteer interest and the needs here at Peabody Home.

“Our culture is welcoming and inclusive - we embrace our volunteers wholeheartedly knowing they make the difference in the daily lives of those who reside here” says Angela Mundy, Director of Activities. “We’re always looking for people to help us make each day purposeful for our residents”.

Volunteer Opportunities include but are not limited to: -

  • Visiting a senior for conversation – talking about a vacation or trip, sharing memories of past events.

  • Story Hour at Peabody – sharing a story and reading aloud in our cozy living room

  • Gardening-planting, weeding

  • Crafts and Sewing projects - handy with a sewing machine(?)we have jobs for you.

  • Seasonal beautification – join our group for decorating inside and out.

  • Pet Therapy- join this special group that brings cheer and comfort with therapy animals.

  • Pen Pal Program- matched up with a resident write regular letters and cards including recognizing birthdays and other life milestones.

  • Bingo caller – help run Bingo and other games offered at Peabody.

  • Transport helper- On planned outings helping onboarding and disembarking the Peabody Bus - drive residents to doctors’ appointments etc.

  • Media Watch – keep track of local newspapers for advertisement & Peabody press releases – create and maintain media scrapbook

  • Journalism – write content for blog and other senior interest publications working with the Marketing Director

  • Entertainment & Enrichment – if you are musical donate an hour of your time to entertain the elders to support our Music & Memory initiative.

This is just a short list of opportunities available. The steps are easy and straightforward.

  1. Complete the application (Click here) and background check

  2. Visit with our Director of Activities – take the tour and learn more about Peabody.

  3. Decide how much time you can give and when you’d like to participate.

  4. Sign up for volunteer time.

Volunteers really are the jewel in the crown of any forward-thinking Non-Profit agency. They augment the work already performed by staff, they support programs that couldn’t or wouldn’t run without their philanthropy of time, they add value to the mission. It’s a two-way street – with the gift of time and dedication comes the reward of learning new skills and professional development, resume building, and fulfilment of one’s altruism, performing good works really does impart a feeling of wellbeing.

All that being said, we’d love to hear from you!

#newhampshire #franklinNH #eldercare #Volunteer #service #community

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