The holidays are a time of year many people think of giving back. From toy drives to food donations, the opportunities to support one’s community are numerous. At Sunrise Senior Living, our residents make giving to others a priority all year long.
Sunrise programs, such as Live With Generosity, encourage residents to stay actively engaged in community activities, and the world around them. Research shows how important this involvement is for older adults’ mental and physical well-being. Living purposeful days gives people a sense of accomplishment at every age. Those feelings of connectedness and giving are linked to longer, healthier lives.
Visit any Sunrise community and you will find residents participating in service projects that benefit fellow residents, as well as their local cities and towns. Residents also volunteer for charitable organizations, organize on-campus events, coordinate fundraising efforts, and much more.
Sunrise Residents Find Joy in Giving Back
As we embark on a new year, here’s a look back at all the ways Sunrise residents have shared their time and talents.
- Organizing a Parkinson’s support group
A lifelong learner and teacher, Penny has called Sunrise Villa San Jose home for nearly 3 years. She has lived with Parkinson’s disease (PD) for many years, and is using her experience with the condition to help others.
Penny established a Parkinson’s support group at Sunrise Villa San Jose, which is open to residents and the community at-large. The support group meets on a monthly basis. Drawing from her personal experience, Penny helps residents find ways to manage the daily struggles caused by PD, embrace the disease, and make every day a positive one.
Along with the support group, Penny has been an advocate for bringing Parkinson’s related exercise classes to the Sunrise community. She has helped facilitate a Parkinson’s specialist to guide exercise classes on a weekly basis.
- Acting as GrandPals for preschool children
Every Tuesday and Thursday, children from Voyages Preschool join Sunrise Villa Culver City residents for 30 to 45 minutes of old-fashioned fun. These intergenerational friends spend time talking, working on seasonal projects, playing games, and generally enjoying one another’s company.
The residents refer to themselves as GrandPals to their young friends. One friendship in particular has proven to be delightful for everyone to watch. That is the friendship between 94-year-old resident, Ruth, and 4-year-old, Buck.
Ruth, a mother of 3 sons, 4 granddaughters, and 4 great-grandchildren, says she adores all of her young friends and gains a true sense of purpose from spending time with them. A special bond, however, has developed between Ruth and Buck over the past year. Ruth says these visits are the “highlight of her week.”
The unconditional acceptance that programs like this foster serve to benefit both generations. The elders learn to be more self-accepting and the younger generation learns to be less fearful of spending time with seniors. It’s a formula that helps reduce the stigma of ageism.
- Performing for residents, staff, and visitors
When Sylvia moved to Sunrise of Gurnee in January of 2019, she was delighted to find a baby grand piano in the foyer. But she hadn't played piano in nearly 50 years and was a little reluctant to step up to the keys. The staff encouraged her to try by presenting her with music books. Sylvia soon began to play again.
Now Sylvia plays the piano twice a day for the enjoyment of residents, staff, and visitors. She performs after breakfast in the morning, and before dinner in the evening. In addition to playing old favorites, residents make special requests.
Rekindling her talent has been a nurturing experience for Sylvia, and all those who get to hear her play each day.
- Developing a cookbook to benefit a favorite charity
Rosemary, a resident at Sunrise of Arlington, used to run a small catering business. She had dreamed of making a cookbook of her favorite recipes for many years. The Activities and Volunteer Coordinator, Lisa, along with the Life Enrichment Manager, Bridget, helped to make her dream a reality.
Residents, staff, family, and friends contributed their favorite recipes for a cookbook they lovingly named, Rosemary and Friends Cookbook. The project brought joy and purpose to everyone involved. Rosemary and the staff of Sunrise of Arlington are selling the cookbook to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Creating survival bags for the homeless
Sunrise of Sandy has a Generosity Club that recently took on a special project. They met once a week for 1 hour to make items for and then assemble survival bags for the homeless. Residents made blankets and fleece scarves to go into each bag, and added toiletries and personal care items as well.
It was an especially cold day when the survival bags were delivered. This made the residents even more eager to board the community bus and head out into the city to share their gifts. The project proved to be meaningful for both the residents and those who received them. Plans are already underway to repeat the project again!
Learn More About the Live With Generosity Program
The old adage “it’s better to give than to receive” is alive and well at Sunrise communities. Watch a video to learn more about this program.
To learn more about Sunrise or to schedule a tour of one of our communities, please call 888-434-4648.