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LIVING AT HOME COMMENTARY: Let's make an effort to help our elders this season

Wow! What an amazing year we've had. I am continually amazed and in awe of the generosity in our community. This year alone, Living at Home's (LAH) 58 volunteers have provided over 3,100 hours and driven over 22,000 miles in service to almost 200...

Wow! What an amazing year we've had.

I am continually amazed and in awe of the generosity in our community. This year alone, Living at Home's (LAH) 58 volunteers have provided over 3,100 hours and driven over 22,000 miles in service to almost 200 elders. When I think about our faithful volunteers, board members, contributors and staff (Regina Theisen and Tara Huber) at Living at Home and how much they give of their hearts, time and talents to our elders, my heart is in perpetual state of happiness and thankfulness.

Now, more than ever, we see the goodness that comes from volunteering and helping our neighbors. We recently received a letter from one of our care recipients. She says, "I am so thankful for LIving at Home. I can live in my house and in the woods that I love."

The very next week LAH received a wonderful note and a donation from her sister, who lives in Illinois, in her honor. They, too, are so thankful for what our volunteers do so that she can remain in her home. They come from a large family, but they all live in Illinois and cannot help her from so far away. This is just one example of so many that keep us going and able to continue our mission of serving our elders.

We hear from our volunteers what volunteering does for them as well. One volunteer put it this way: "It keeps me young and keeps me active and socializing, too." Most of our volunteers are retired, and even those who are still working find the time to volunteer on their days off or after-work hours. "It is the most rewarding part of my day, helping others and bringing joy every day."

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I hear and tell these stories all year long, but now at the holidays it is especially important, as we are all surrounded by love and family, to remember those that may need an extra phone call or visit. The holidays can be a lonely time for many. Let's all make that little extra effort to bring a smile to an elder in our community.

The gift of time is what elders appreciate the most. Here are some ideas from elders when asked what they want:

• Play a game or work on a puzzle together.

• Sit down or go somewhere to have coffee or tea and reminisce.

• Go for a drive or offer/ask to to visit a friend.

• Help make and/or send cards or write a letter.

• Is your favorite elder far away? Write them a real letter. Old-fashioned "snail mail" is not out of style.

• Sing Christmas carols together. Better yet, go caroling.

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From all of us here at LAH, have a wonderful season of gathering with family and friends, great conversations, thankfulness and, of course, lots of joy!

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