The elderly community, especially here in the Houston-area are significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
With kids out of school, you can encourage them to help Houston-area seniors in need while practicing social distancing as a way to volunteer their time and to relieve their boredom at home.
You can contact a senior living facility near you and see how you could do one of these activities for their residents. Here’s a good resource to help you find a center near you.
Here are five ways you can encourage your kids to help out:
Create a gift basket
Kids can create gift baskets containing small gifts and snacks such as jams, cookies or crackers, stationary items, and craft supplies for seniors to benefit during these trying times. Gift baskets can also be made by gender (such as, men’s and women’s toiletries).
Some notable items they can include in gift baskets:
- Coloring books
- Books to read
- Household items (disinfecting wipes, hand soap, etc)
Become a penpal for a senior
Kids can help write a letter to a senior neighbor who may be alone.. Letters are a great way for kids to simply say “hi” and brighten their day. It is also a great way for them to enhance their writing skills.
Kids can start out by simply writing about their day, the weather, or their favorite food. They can also deliver the letter with no-contact by dropping it off at the front door.
Volunteer to do yard work
Planting flowers and mowing grass are some ways kids can contribute to keep their senior neighbors’ yards beautiful and tidy. Kids can help out by picking up trash from the grass, picking out weeds, and planting beautiful flowers to keep seniors’ yards clean and pretty for the spring season.
Seniors and parents should ensure that the yardwork is okay to be performed by the kids before starting.
Interview a senior; ask them questions about their past
Kids can interview a senior by asking questions about their youth, and about any events they may have lived through. They will be amazed at how much they will learn based on their knowledge.
Some questions they can ask:
- Who influenced you the most in your life?
- What are you proud of?
- What would you like to be remembered of?
- What was the happiest moment in your life?
Read a book via Zoom
Once seniors learn how to navigate the world of Zoom and other teleconferencing apps, kids can read their favorite book to them. Seniors will be delighted by their reading and storytelling skills.
Most nursing homes around the Houston-area have supplied their senior residents with iPads equipped with Zoom. Contact your nearest nursing home for information on how to get in contact with an elderly resident and arrange a delivery or a meeting.
Best books to read to seniors by kids:
- The Tide by Clara Helen Welsh
- Mr. George Baker by Amy Hest
- Miss Tizzy by Libba Moore Gray