A friendly interaction or an extra set of hands: You can impact a senior today

By Chris Mohler-KingOwner, Sendell Motors

My grandmother was an independent woman who lived in Michigan. As she got older, my family recognized that she needed more support. Together, we moved her east to be closer to all of us in Greensburg.  

This experience stayed with me. Thankfully, my family is here, and together, we were all able to lend a hand to support my grandmother. But I learned firsthand how much time, care and love it takes to be a family caregiver. It takes companionship and patience. And it takes time.  

I thought to myself, “what happens to the seniors whose families do not have this time or are unable to support their older friends and family?”  

Local seniors need our help 

Throughout my adult life, I have always felt the desire to give back to my community. And from my own experiences with my grandmother, and through my work with United Way’s Open Your Heart to a Senior initiative, I see our population aging, and I see the need for community support.  

I recognize that there are so many seniors right here in our region – those same people who may have taught us in grade school, or coached us in basketball growing up. The seniors in our community are people who have been here for us and for our community, and now it’s our turn to show up for them.  

The biggest challenges seniors face are often simple tasks we take for granted each day, like driving to appointments, pushing a cart through the grocery store, or shoveling the sidewalk. But on top of that, many seniors simply miss companionship and friendship, as many of their peers may be aging or deceased, and they are unable to get around as easily to see friends and family.  

Sometimes, all it takes is an extra set of hands 

Just think of the impact we could make if we all took the initiative to help or befriend a local senior. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, corporate professional, teacher, college student, anyone, there is a senior waiting to connect with you here in our region.  

You see, when seniors have someone in their lives who will show up for them, like a volunteer or a kind citizen, their lives change.  

Loneliness and isolation is known to make seniors’ health decline. When a senior can’t make it to the doctor or to the grocery store for healthy food, they are missing out on needed services and nutrients. And a simple check-in can help so many seniors stay safe and independent in their own homes.  

You can make an impact 

Big or small, we can all make an impact on a local senior in some capacity. Whether it’s volunteering through United Way’s Open Your Heart to a Senior program, making calls to seniors through United Way’s CheckMates partnership, engaging with another local agency, or even just checking in on an older neighbor or loved one once a week, you will witness the difference you can make through a simple act of kindness for someone in need.   

I am so glad that my family and I were there to support my grandmother and be her caregivers, but I am also glad to have partnered with United Way to make sure seniors across the region who might not have this support are finding companionship and assistance from a neighbor instead.  

To learn more about United Way’s Open Your Heart to a Senior program, visit uwswpa.org/open-your-heart-to-a-senior