Alzheimer’s Research: Lady-Links Walk for the Cure

Our Lady-Links group has made friendship visits for over a year to our friend who has Alzheimer’s dementia, so we have first-hand knowledge of how this disease progresses.  We are committed to encouraging our friend and enriching her life throughout each stage.  What we all hope is that a cure can be found that will one day prevent others from the toll that Alzheimer’s takes on the patient, their family and friends.  Our group was represented in our community’s local walk to help raise donations for continued research that will provide the cure that is so needed.

Walk 2014 startAt the reception following the walk, we celebrated!

Walk 2014 Reception groupWalk 2014 receptionOur group helped raise funds for continued research.  Before the weekend was over, this check had to be re-written to include added donations.

Walk 2014 donation

 

It was very fulfilling to be a part of a group effort for such a worthy cause.  If you know a person with Alzheimer’s dementia, think of what you can do to help.  You’ll feel good about your decision and your support will be greatly appreciated.  Together we can make a difference!

For more information on how to start a Lady-Links group in your area to make visits to your friend or loved one, just let us know.  We’re here to help you get organized!

Dementia and Losing Life’s Links: How to Help

A link is used to connect one thing to another.  We find links in every area of our lives: social/emotional, spiritual, intellectual and physical.   All of these are important areas in which we need to make appropriate connections to help us navigate our way through life. When those “links” are in place, the message is clear.

Links in place

What if some of those links became damaged or destroyed?  The message wouldn’t be so  clear, would it?

Links broken

Without a clear message, your ability to link people, places, and concepts begins to vanish.  You would probably feel lost, alone and insecure.  You would be thankful for those who helped you find your way in this difficult situation.

Helping Our Friend

Most of us know someone who is unable to make those types of links or connections without some help.  Think of how it might feel if that person were you.  Were you ever in a new situation where you didn’t fully understand what was happening?  Were you ever traveling in new territory and lost your way?  Did you ever struggle with one of your courses in school and think you could never “get it” let alone “master” it?  What if it were like that most of the time?  Now can you relate to the confusion that a person with dementia has?

chain link fence broken

Perhaps only a small portion of the links are destroyed or damaged in the early stages.  But the amount of affected brain cells continues to increase, destroying those connecting links necessary for making sense of things,  until the person diagnosed with dementia is in a state of confusion much of the time.

Rough, huh?  But confusion/dementia/cognitive decline  doesn’t define the person.  Their character, experiences, faith, and temperament still have significant contributions to determining who that person is.  They are our fathers, grandfathers, mothers, grandmothers, our spouse or perhaps a dear friend.  They have been loving parents,  spouses, and siblings.  They have been college professors, astronauts, homemakers, teachers, professional athletes, you name it.  Dementia crosses all boundaries.    They are still Aunt Sally or Uncle Joe and continue to deserve to have activities that create meaning in their life and to find reasons to laugh, rejoice, and love.

Friends enjoying coffee.

Friends enjoying coffee.

Want to relate to a person with dementia?  Engage in an activity that you both can enjoy.

Getting a project ready for our friend to easily assemble.

Getting a project ready for our friend to easily assemble.

Plan it in such a way that your friend will successfully be able to participate fully in whatever his or her part is.  It will improve their quality of life by making them feel a sense of accomplishment and contributing to their overall sense of well-being.

Providing guidance as needed.

Providing guidance as needed.

You can find appropriate activities throughout this blog that our Lady-Links group has done with our friend who has Alzheimer’s dementia.  Try our activities the next time you and/or your children visit that special person in your life.  You have a wonderful opportunity to help maintain a link to past interests and give that person a chance to be more engaged with life.

Enjoying spending time together.

Enjoying spending time together.

 

Lady-Links: Celebrating One Year of Friendship Visits

The Lady-Links logo was the perfect decoration for our celebration cake.

The Lady-Links logo was the perfect decoration for our celebration cake.

It was time to celebrate!  We completed one year of visiting our friend who has Alzheimer’s dementia.  During that year, we visited with her over 100 times, doing crafts and activities to help her maintain links to the intellectual, emotional/spiritual, and physical areas of her life.

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Lady-Links are loving, kind, compassionate, patient women who make visits to our friend on a scheduled basis.  We visit in groups of two or three offering friendship, encouragement, and special activities sprinkled with plenty of love and laughter.  The schedule is arranged in such a way that our visits are on set days, twice each week.  Each Lady-Link commits to making two visits per month.  We all have become great friends and we think of our visits as “our girl time.”

Lady-Links Enjoying the Fun

Lady-Links Enjoying the Fun

Our celebration included recognizing spouses and friends of the Lady-Links, our special friend and her family, and those in our retirement community who have given us encouragement and support.

 

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Dancing, singing, enjoying refreshments, and spending time together to celebrate.  Priceless!

Dancing, singing, enjoying refreshments, and spending time together to celebrate. Priceless!

 

Our one-year anniversary celebration was so much fun!  But the best part was being reminded of what the past year meant to our friend, her family, and to us.  We began Lady-Links as a way to enrich her life but we quickly realized that our lives were being enriched as well.  We will continue our visits with our friend and look forward to another celebration one year from now.

If you want to start a Lady-Links group for your friend or loved one who has any type of dementia, please let us know.  We would love to help you get that organized.

Activities and Dementia: Strategies for Success

At Lady-Links visits with our friend with Alzheimer’s dementia,  we are able to engage her in a variety of activities because we’ve developed a successful strategy for how we approach selecting and implementing activities.  We choose activities that are in some way significant to her and then we simplify them so that she will be able to participate with a sense of fulfillment.  We believe this strategy will work with others as well.

SIGNIFICANCE -

1.  Make it Meaningful for that Person – Determine what they enjoyed before they were diagnosed.

Promoting communication and friendship over coffee.

Promoting communication and friendship over coffee.

(Church – Family – Holidays – Music – Decorations – Children – Homemaking – Travel – Friends – Volunteering)

2.  Make it Matter to that Person – Determine what will provide a sense of fulfillment now that they are diagnosed.

Making cookies to share

Making cookies to share

(Contributing to a group effort – Helping others – Enjoying group activities – Being a hostess – Having fun)

SIMPLICITY -

1.  Plan – Select an activity that the person can successfully accomplish and will enjoy.  Inspiration  for activities can come from many sources including  holidays, special events, local activities, the seasons, music, photographs, family connections and past or present interests.  Modifications may need to be made.

Working one of the elephant puppets she made to give to area children.

Working one of the elephant puppets she made to give to area children.

A cookie dough mix was used making it easier than measuring everything from scratch.

A cookie dough mix was used making it easier than measuring everything from scratch.  Our friend scooped the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet.

 

 

Our friend scooped the dough on to the cookie sheet.  We managed the use of the oven while our friend decorated the baggies to hold the cookies.  She put the cooled cookies into the baggies and helped with the giveaway.

 

Bags of cookies ready to be given away.

Bags of cookies ready to be given away.

2.  Prepare – Get the activity to the point where it is ready for the person to begin his or her part.

All the cutting was done prior to the visit.

All the cutting was done prior to the visit.

All the pieces were grouped by color and ready to be glued at the visit.

All the pieces were grouped by color and ready to be glued at the visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decorations we made for our Christmas reception.

Decorations we made for our Christmas reception.

Before the visit, each pine cone with its correct number of pom-poms was placed in a baggie, ready for assembly.

Before the visit, each pine cone with its correct number of pom-poms was placed in a baggie, ready for assembly.

The  correct number of fall stickers were placed in a baggie for each pumpkin  prior to the visit.

The correct number of fall stickers were placed in a baggie for each pumpkin prior to the visit.

We use stickers whenever possible instead of glue.

We use stickers whenever possible instead of glue.

Making our own stickers.

Making our own stickers.

The front of our St. Patrick's Day card.  Everything was cut prior to the visit so it would be ready for assembly.

The front of our St. Patrick’s Day card. Everything was cut prior to the visit so it would be ready for assembly.

3.  Purpose – Let the person know how the project will be of benefit.

Giving away the valentines she made.

Giving away the valentines she made.

Easter Egg Baskets that were given away.

Easter Egg Baskets that were given away.

We made these Mother's Day table decorations that were used at a Ladies' Breakfast.

We made these Mother’s Day table decorations that were used at a Ladies’ Breakfast.

 

4.  Presentation – Model the expected behavior and have a completed example to display.

Model the desired behavior.

Model the desired behavior.

An example serves as a guide.

An example serves as a guide.

Success!

Success!

5.  Persevere – If it doesn’t work or if the person becomes disinterested, make a transition to another activity.  Avoid wait time.

A tote tray filled with a variety of activities from which to choose.

A tote tray filled with a variety of activities from which to choose.

 

Interests can change quickly so be flexible and have plenty of choices.

Interests can change quickly so be flexible and have plenty of choices.

Turn on some music and you've got an instant activity!

Turn on some music and you’ve got an instant activity!

 

 

Chair exercises can be initiated quickly and easily.

Chair exercises can be initiated quickly and easily.

A Conga Line is always fun.

A Conga Line is always fun.

 

 

6.  Praise – It’s not about the end product but about the process. Be generous with your encouragement and compliments.

A flower in a coffee cup.

A flower in a coffee cup.

Activities provide opportunities for emotional/spiritual, intellectual, social, and physical interaction.  When chosen carefully and implemented with the right approach, all you need to add is laughter and love, and the prospects for enriching a person’s life in any stage of dementia are endless.

 

Alzheimer’s and S’mores: Tips for Getting it Just Right

What can be better than a s’more with all its chocolate creamy deliciousness?

 

A s'more with all its chocolate creamy deliciousness!

The answer… s’mores shared with friends!

Giving away baggies with ingredients for making an individual s'more.

Giving away baggies with ingredients for making an individual s’more.

We knew that celebrating National S’mores Day at one of our visits could be lots of fun.  But first, we had to be sure it would work by running it through our model for choosing and implementing activities to do with our friend who has been diagnosed with midstage Alzheimer’s Dementia.  The five P’s in our Process are:  Plan, Prepare,  Purpose, Presentation, Persevere and Praise.  Here’s how we did it:

We carefully planned what we would need and what we would do at the visit, including how to best fill and then distribute the baggies containing the ingredients for making individual s’mores.  We knew it would have to be broken down into several steps and we would need to determine the best order for those steps to occur.  We decided to make s’mores as refreshments for us to eat, then place the stickers on the baggies and fill with the ingredients.  The last step would be to distribute the baggies to our neighbors.

Hershey bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers...a great combination!

Hershey bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers…a great combination!

There is always necessary preparation before each visit.  In this case, we had to locate background information on the s’mores recipe (it first appeared in a 1927 edition of the Girl Scout Handbook), design a sticker with relevant information to place on each baggie, and measure and wrap each ingredient for a single serving to make it easy to stuff into each baggie.  We needed to locate an updated recipe for using a microwave since we didn’t plan on building a campfire (lol) and include that information on our sticker as well.  The fun part was that we needed to try it to see that it would work.

Place one graham cracker square, topped with a section of a Hershey's bar and a marshmallow in a microwave.

Place one graham cracker square, topped with a section of a Hershey’s bar and a marshmallow in a microwave.

 

 

Microwave on HIGH for 10 - 15 seconds.  Perfect!

Microwave on HIGH for 10 – 15 seconds. Perfect!  All you need to do is add the top graham cracker square  and eat it!

 

Someone had to taste it to be sure it lived up to its reputation.  It did!

Someone had to taste it to be sure it lived up to its reputation. It did!

 

The preparation process continued with making the stickers and wrapping the individual ingredients to place in the baggies at the visit.

All the individual items ready to assemble.

All the individual items ready to assemble.

 

We had a purpose for this activity…actually several purposes.  The purpose we explained to our friend was that it was National S’mores Day and that we wanted to celebrate by making s’mores to share with our neighbors.  We emphasized how much our neighbors would appreciate receiving our s’mores baggies and how it was so nice to have the opportunity to share such a delicious surprise.  A second purpose was that we would each make a s’more to eat at our visit, serving as an example of what we were doing.  We always begin our visits with refreshments which our friend’s husband usually has ready to serve.  However, today we wanted to experience making the s’mores ourselves so our friend would be reminded of what was involved.  Of course we had such fun doing this and there was great conversation that occured as we shared our Girl Scout and Camp Fire Girls experiences,  and of eating s’mores around a campfire when we were children.

We always present  an activity at our visits by modeling what we want done.  The Lead Lady-Link began by building her s’more and the others followed.  After we ate, then it was time to assemble the baggies.  We had a completed baggie as an example to show how it should look so that the sticker would be in place and the correct ingredients inside.

 

A completed baggie served as an example of what we wanted to accomplish.

A completed baggie served as an example of what we wanted to accomplish.

We know that our friend has several levels of engagement and our goal is to actively engage her in whatever we’re doing.  If she becomes passively engaged or disinterested, we are flexible  and change what we’re doing to meet her needs.  We persevere  by modifying what we’re doing or sometimes we transition to another activity.  Our friend wanted to dance to a Perry Como song that was playing while we were filling the baggies.  That was our cue to take a break and dance!  After one or two songs, we returned to the table to continue and so did she.

Peeling a sticker about celebrating National S'mores Day

Peeling a sticker about celebrating National S’mores Day

Placing the sticker on the baggie.

Placing the sticker on the baggie.

All the Lady-Links at each visit help with the activity and we have a great time!

All the Lady-Links at each visit help with the activity and we have a great time!

The final step in our process is praise.  Throughout the activity we encourage our friend on her participation and help her see that her contributition to the project is valued and an important part of the process.  When we distributed the baggies with the s’mores ingredients, she preferred that we handed the baggie to our neighbors as she watched.  You can see by the smile on her face that she was enjoying being a part of the experience.

Sharing with the woman who runs our local Market.

Sharing a s’mores baggie with the woman who runs our local Market.

 

Happy to give and happy to receive.

Happy to give and happy to receive.

 

Happy National S'mores Day!

Happy National S’mores Day!

 

This was such a valuable experience on many levels.  It provided opportunities for cognitive stimulation, physical activity, emotional delight (have you tasted a s’more lately?) and spiritual growth (sharing).  And all of it was done with plenty of love and laughter so typical of all of our Lady-Links visits.

Alzheimer’s and Friends: The Value of One

Lady-Links is a very unique concept.  It is a partnership of people dedicated to enriching the life of one person, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Dementia,  helping her to maintain important links in her life.

When most people hear of our model of friendship care visits, they embrace the idea and wish that such a partnership existed for their loved one.

Elephant Card Demonstrating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, some, when learning about Lady-Links, question why so many of us put so much effort into just one person’s life.

To them, unless we are helping multitudes of people, we are misguided and our time could be put to much greater use.  They don’t see the value of helping just one.

I’m glad our Lord doesn’t look at it that way.  Listen to some of these familiar stories from the Bible:

  • God sent a whale to swallow one man to redirect his path.
  • God sent ravens to feed one man to encourage and strengthen him.
  • Jesus spoke to one woman at the well to show her the way.
  • Jesus stopped in the middle of a crowd to heal one woman when He felt her touch the hem of His garment.
  • The Holy Spirit sent Philip to explain the Scriptures to one man, an Ethiopian who was out on a desert road.

A favorite Bible story of mine involving one person is about one paralyzed man who was helped by four of his friends.  Perhaps we could call them his group of Lady-Links.  It is found in Mark 2 and tells of four friends who placed their paralyzed friend on a pallet and carried him to see Jesus.  Here’s what was involved:

  • Plan – Carry him to wherever Jesus was
  • Prepare – Had a pallet
  • Purpose – Make their friend better
  • Persevere – When they couldn’t get in the door of the house, they went to the roof, dug through it and lowered their friend down
  • Partnership – It was a coordinated effort by a group of friends to help just one person
  • Precious Process – Mark 2:5 and 11 “And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘My son, your sins are forgiven..I say to you, rise, take up your pallet, and go home.’ ” Look at the word “their” in verse 5.  It was the faith of the friends that made the difference in the life of one person.

Lady-Links believe that their visits are making a difference in the life of their friend.

She smiles more, looks people in the eye more, communicates more, sings more, dances more, and engages in life more compared to the time before our visits began.

 

 

To us, all the time spent in  planning, preparing, determining a purpose for each visit, and persevering when things don’t go as we thought they would have formed us into a strong partnership of friends  who view our time with our friend as a precious process enriching her life and ours.

We are doing all of this for one friend because we place value on her life and want to help her enjoy a quality of life for as long as possible in spite of a progressive neurological disease for which there is no cure.   Is helping “just one” a worthy cause?  Absolutely!

 

We hope that you will duplicate our Lady-Links model of friendship visits for one of your friends or loved ones who suffers with any type of dementia.  They will be blessed and so will you.

Alzheimers and Friends Who Visit: A Video of Activities

Each Lady-Links visit is filled with love and laughter as we enrich the life of our friend who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia.  Enjoy watching this video to get a sense of what we do at our visits and hopefully you will be inspired to visit your friend or loved one who has cognitive issues and duplicate some of our activities.

Friends of Highland Springs

 

Alzheimer’s and June Fun Days: How to Celebrate

The month of June has provided inspiration for activities with candy and cookies, flags and festivities, and summer and the seasons. Lady-Links visits are designed to be enjoyable for our friend with Alzheimer’s mid-stage dementia and the special occasion days in June were a great source for ideas.  We plan activities to keep her engaged while helping to preserve her skills, and we encourage her through positive feedback. We do this by by starting with refreshments and then transitioning to appropriate activities.

Promoting communication and friendship over coffee.

Promoting communication and friendship over coffee.

Did you know that June was National Candy Month?  That was great news to me since I know how much our friend loves chocolate and using chocolate candy would catch her attention.  We decided to prepare  bags of  assorted candy (mainly chocolates) decorated with an appropriate sticker identifying this special occasion and to give them away to staff who work in our retirement community.  This would give our friend the opportunity to sort and classify the candy and arrange it in the baggies and peel and place the sticker on each one. She would have plenty of opportunity for social interaction as she distributed the candy.

Candy in bowls

She enjoyed the activity and participated somewhat in the process of filling the baggies and adding the sticker.  She had fun hiding some of the candy and tasting ones that were her favorite.  She was able to contribute occasionally to the conversation regarding what candy we liked to eat when we were children and what special places we would go to get candy (the movies, grandma’s house, the candy store to spend some of our allowance, etc.)  We always have a discussion relating to any activity that we’re doing and our friend benefits from the positive environment that such sharing brings, even though she might forget what was actually said.

Candy Sticker

We filled 30 bags and will distribute them when our friend is ready to go for a walk around our community.  We had hoped to distribute them the day that we filled the baggies, but our friend preferred to stay in her home and continue our visit there.  Our plans are always flexible and we  encourage her to try new activities, but if she is hesitant we transition to an activity that she prefers at the moment.  We know that she will eagerly participate in the candy distribution at another visit when the timing is right for her.

Candy in baggie

The rest of the month will be filled with activities associated with Flag Day, the Summer Solstice (do you know how it’s determined),   and preparing for the Fourth of July.  Our visits are always designed to meet the needs of our friend and the love and laughter come naturally as we enrich her life and ours too!

How are you celebrating June with your friends?

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Alzheimer’s: Making It Fun and Safe

Who can resist a chocolate chip cookie?  Well, maybe some can….but not on National Chocolate Chip Day!! Our Lady-Links group decided to try something new with our friend who is diagnosed with mid-stage Alzheimer’s dementia.  Together we made chocolate chip cookies to distribute among those who work  in our retirement community in celebration of National Chocolate Chip Day.

cc cookie basket with friend

Here’s the result of the afternoon of baking.  Our friend is sitting with the basket of chocolate chip cookies, bagged and ready to distribute.  She participated in most of the process: the mixing of the ingredients, the scooping of the dough on the cookie sheets, decorating the baggies with stickers, putting two cookies in each bag, and giving them away to some very delighted members of our community.  I think her favorite part was sampling (mine too)!   She loves chocolate,  and we enjoyed seeing her so enthusiastic and having such fun!

As with any project that we do with her, there are modifications that need to be made and preparations that need to be done in advance of the visit.  Since we had not cooked with her before, we asked her husband for his insights and suggestions.  He let us know that the stove should be off limits for her because of previous episodes in which she would turn on the burners without his knowledge.  In fact, he had removed the burner knobs for safety reasons.    We made the decision not to involve our friend with putting the cookies in the oven or taking them out.  We did not want to encourage any interest in the stove/oven since that was a safety issue.  She could do every other step in the cookie-making process at the dining room table, so there was no need for her to even go into the kitchen.  We made sure she had plenty of things to do that did not involve being in the kitchen or using the stove/oven.

chocolate chip stickers in machine

The preparation process prior to the visit involved making the stickers for the baggies that would hold the cookies.  I love my Creative Station sticker machine and can design my own stickers that way.  We made two for each baggie, one stating that it was the week of National Chocolate Chip Day and the other was something I downloaded from clip art saying “Have a Nice Day.”  Our friend loves to peel and place stickers, so I knew that this would be an enjoyable activity and would hold her interest while one of us slipped into the kitchen to put the cookies in the oven and take them out when they were done.

chocolate chip cookie dough

Just prior to the visit, I prepared three batches of cookie dough.  Two of them I completely mixed, and one I left unmixed for our friend to do.  It took a while for her to cream the butter into the dry ingredients and to add the egg and get it all mixed together, so I’m glad I had the other two batches of dough already done.  She instinctively knew how to cream the butter into the dry ingredients using a fork which led us to realize that she must have done this before and was linking to that experience.  As a result, we began to talk about when we were girls and would make cookies with our mothers.  She could add bits and pieces to the conversation, and we all had such a marvelous time of sharing our early cooking experiences, most of which were usually with our moms or in homemaking class.

We showed her how to use a cookie dough scoop to drop the dough on the baking sheet.  She did several scoops and then lost interest.  That’s when we brought out the baggies and stickers, and she had fun getting those ready while we finished scooping the dough.  That was a great way to keep her engaged in a meaningful activity and away from the stove.

 

We always had a Lady-Link in the kitchen doing the actual baking, but we never called attention to that.  We had plenty of fun around the dining table with our friend, so it was never an issue.

We filled over 40 baggies with our warm, delicious cookies and enjoyed  giving them away to the wonderful people who work in our retirement community.  Our friend was all smiles, especially when some of the recipients opened the bag and ate their cookies right away, describing them as “yummy” and “oh soooooo good.”   It was a great way to celebrate National Chocolate Chip Day and of course it was filled with all the love and laughter that naturally occurs during our Lady-Links visits.

Any suggestions for something we can “cook” at another Lady-Links visit that doesn’t require her to be involved with the stove/oven?

 

 

Alzheimer’s and Special Days: Worth the Effort

Our calendars are filled with special observances and events that sometimes get overlooked. Calendar special days These special days are different from holidays which usually get all the attention.  I’m talking about days that pay tribute to such things as civic observances, historical or religious events, famous people or places or milestones that were set, worthwhile causes, or just -for-fun-occasions. For instance, did you know that May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day?  That appeals more to me than May 13 which is Frog Jumping Day or May 16 which is National Sea Monkey Day.  Now, I’m all for frogs and sea monkeys, but chocolate rings a special bell with me and it just happens to be a favorite of our friend with Alzheimer’s dementia.  So that’s on the schedule for us to celebrate. When trying to come up with an idea for what to do when you visit a friend or loved one with any type of dementia,  just look at your typical calendar for inspiration.  You’ll find all sorts of events worth celebrating with a themed project that can be assembled during your visit.  Coming events we will celebrate with a project reflecting that special day are Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Father’s Day and the first day of Summer. Did I mention Chocolate Chip Day????  You can see what’s on my mind. chocolate chips At our Lady-Links visits, we’ve used special days to inspire activities and projects by decorating  pumpkins for the first day of Fall, decorating masks and hats for Mardi Gras, making cards for St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of Spring, and making flower arrangements to be used for Veteran’s Day, just to name a few. Mardi Gras holding maskFall decorating pumpkins   Remember, we’re not talking about major holidays.  We’ve done tons of stuff for those.  We’re looking for those obscure (and some not so obscure) special days as inspiration for projects to do at our twice weekly visits that will keep our friend actively engaged and help her to maintain her social, emotional/spiritual, and intellectual links. We don’t want to be boring.  So far, we’ve been successful! Just recently at some of our Lady-Links visits, we prepared for one of those special days, Earth Day, with our friend by making bookmarks and cards with “conservation” and “appreciate Earth” themes. 20140422_08421820140425_08193420140425_081854 Since we want our friend to be involved as much as possible in our projects, we design them with her skills and abilities in mind.  She doesn’t handle glue very well, but she loves to peel and place stickers.  My daughter-in-law suggested that I purchase a Creative Station machine to make my own stickers and I love it.  We are able to design and print stickers that our friend can relate to and that work well with our project theme.   20140422_084013 We used one sticker design for our bookmark, that of Earth.  We printed a Bible verse relating to the Earth on green card stock, and brought that to our Lady-Link visit for her to peel and place the Earth sticker on it. For our Earth Day themed card, I found a great source for pictures on my daughter-in-law’s blog, Carrie Elle using a link she had to Play 2 Learn with Sarah which featured an Earth Day Bingo game.  The pictures were just what I wanted but the Bingo game had too many squares for our friend to be able to play it.  Although I didn’t use it for its intended purpose,  I downloaded it, printed the Bingo cards, and cut up the squares to use to make stickers for our Earth Day encouragement cards that we shared with other residents in our senior community. 20140425_081822 It worked wonderfully!  I printed our Earth Day verse on green card stock, folded it and had it ready for our friend to place the stickers on it. I organized the cards and the stickers in baggies, and gave to each person at our Lady-Link visit that day.  All the supplies for making one card were complete within each baggie. 20140425_085901 We had a great conversation with our friend during our Earth Day themed visits and she was able to join in with a few comments of her own.  She remembers her parents telling her to turn out the lights as she would leave a room and she remembers that they would reuse aluminum foil more than once.  We talked about conservation efforts including recycling and reusing things (our senior community takes this very seriously and has a great recycling effort).  20140425_110240 20140425_110141 We were so pleased that she understood the purpose of Earth Day and could relate to it, at least at that moment.  Our activities linked to something in her past that was important to her and gave her the opportunity to participate fully. The cards and bookmarks were given to our community chaplain who distributed them to those residents who attended vespers since they had an appropriate and relevant Bible verse on them. Not only did our Earth Day projects serve a purpose for our friend and the residents who received them, but we Lady-Links benefited from the conversation they promoted as we shared ways of recycling, reusing, and restoring our natural resources.  It was totally worth the effort, and we look forward to the next special day that we can celebrate with a themed project!

 

What special days are coming up that you plan to celebrate?  Any suggestions for us to use with our friend at one of our Lady-Links visits?