Re: aging community members
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2019 10:32:23 -0700 (PDT)
> On Jun 9, 2019, at 12:38 PM, Susan HEDGPETH <hedgpeth [at]> 
> wrote:

> I'm looking for ideas of tasks that could be done by aging community
> members who are failing a bit mentally and/or physically.  We have a couple
> of folks in their 80's who are finding it more difficult to do tasks but
> still want to participate.

I think best is to have a task list that is broken down into small enough bits 
that anyone can find something they would enjoy doing. Clean the laundry room 
can become clean lint filters, fold lost and found, wipe down machines, mop 
floor, etc.

Also pairing people who can work together with one assisting. “Hold this” can 
be essential help. Watering gardens. 

Call people to remind them what time it is.

For years one of our late 80s gentlemen swept the sidewalks around the green. 
It was a great service. I miss him. The walks were always clean and he was 
often out and about. It was a job he could do anytime for whatever length of 
time he felt like. He had one of those wonderful umbrella hats in bright colors.

On workdays, we have a list of tasks that the less mobile sit with to explain 
jobs, direct people, and pass messages. Make notes, cross things off.

For people who like to organize, the toys in the children’s room always need 
sorting. And it’s fun to find all the parts to the farm or the doll house. 
Straighten the dress up clothes. It can be a regular job.

Empty the dishwashers. 

A picture I wish I had was of a 80+ year old resident sitting on a kitchen 
stool washing up the pans after dinner. He and a 5-year-old were the only ones 
there. All the lights were off except the safety light over the kitchen island. 
They were framed as if on stage in a spotlight.  He would wash a pot and dry 
it, and tell her where to put it away. He would watch to be sure she got it 
right. Then she would come back and watch him wash and dry the next one. And he 
would watch her put it away. Some of the smaller items she wanted to dry so he 
would watch dry and tell her where to put it. The pace was just right for both.

One team had a brilliant solution for a woman who wanted to attend meetings but 
wasn’t able to follow the discussion. They would go forth with the meeting, and 
when she spoke up, they would talk about whatever she wanted to talk about, and 
then go back to the agenda.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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