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Senior Communities Benefit Larger Community

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David Ammons

David Ammons is president of Retirement Living Associates, Inc. (RLA), a company which provides planning, development, marketing, and management services for new and existing retirement communities. He has worked in and with Senior Living Communities since his graduation from Wake Forest University in 1985.

Over my 30-plus year career in the retirement industry, I have heard hundreds of reasons why it’s a good idea to move to a retirement community; at the same time I have also heard many reasons NOT to move.

Not until a person or couple moves, do they fully understand what benefits they may reap and some may be surprised to know that many benefits come completely unexpected. From all of these observations, one of my favorite beliefs is that sometimes these are not fully appreciated until a new resident has lived in a retirement community for at least six months or even several years. Living together provides a strength in numbers to do things bigger and better than ever previously envisioned

I recently asked a few folks in the retirement industry to share some of the things in their communities that residents really enjoy that benefit a larger community. This larger community may be a local orphanage or homeless shelter or may even extend to organizations on a national or international level such as Toys for Tots or Stop Hunger Now. Below are just some of the heartwarming examples I would like to share showing how residents in retirement communities give back.

“A quilt is love…love is a quilt” Quilt-lovers from The Alamance Piecemakers Quilt Guild gathered together recently at The Village at Brookwood Retirement Community in Burlington. Not only were over 50 quilts featured, but two quilting workshops were also offered on site. In addition, some of the beautiful handmade quilts, microwave baskets as well as potato bakers were offered for sale at the boutique. With more than 400 visitors, a sense of community was felt by all who attended. The picture below illustrates the fun, the artistry, and the giving back to the greater community.

The Alamance Piecemakers Quilt Guild

Residents of another “giving” retirement community in Raleigh regularly fills a bus, with the assistance of The Flower Shuttle and The Raleigh Moravian Church, to volunteer to repurpose donated flowers and vases which they deliver to hospitals, primarily to cancer patients. This type of outreach offers a tremendous sense of love and strength to the community.

In another effort at the same community, woodworkers participate yearly in the Toys For Tots program. A group of ladies paints the toys after the men complete the crafting. They are donated to Toy for Tots every December. (Note: Ladies also can be very accomplished in the wood shop.)

Across the state, numerous sewing, knitting and crocheting projects are underway as residents create much needed and cherished pillows, socks, sweaters, stuffed animals and more. These are donated to all kinds of shelters and children in need. This type of “giving back” to people in need warms hearts and hands, bringing smiles to many.

Another retirement group has members that are part of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) which attracts over 100 volunteers. Each volunteer fills out a volunteer interest card to serve as a helping hand to local city/community organizations.

A favorite event is a project at Springmoor Retirement Community in Raleigh called Stop Hunger Now. Residents and staff come together to create bagged meals, using basic ingredients, to serve the hungry. In a six-year period, this effort has created 3075 pounds of packaged meals!

As you can see, many retirement residents come together to volunteer with great organizations, such as Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity. This might leave many people wondering who benefits the most…the recipient or the volunteer? You can be the judge!