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Nov 1, 2011

Nursing Home News--November 2011

This is the September 2011 newsletter of Friends Across the Ages nursing home outreach



During November and December the Friends Across the Ages group of residents and volunteers at Palm Garden will be putting together small holiday gift packages for homeless women at the Helping Hands Clinic of Gainesville. These small acts of kindness allow the residents to participate in their local community, something they very much value and enjoy.  About 4-5 residents, along with 4-5 volunteers will be working on this project.  The packages include hygiene products such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, wash cloths, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, combs, etc., goodies such as small bags of chips, cookies and candy, and other useful items such as notepads, pens and small yearly calendars. 


This project was started last year by Friends volunteer coordinator at Palm Garden, Dianne Walsh, also volunteers at the Women’s Health Program on Thursdays with Helping Hands.  She said that when she and others at Helping Hands started talking about the holiday bag idea, she thought it would be a perfect way to include the ladies she visits at Palm Garden in a community project because while most residents’ fine motor skills are limited, they are very capable of placing items into small bags and then into larger bags.  Last year they put together about 35 large holiday canvas bags.  The residents loved it and Dianne says the group has had many “social concern” talks since then.  This year they plan to put together about 45 bags for the women who come to Helping Hands.


Here is a little more information about Helping Hands, from their website:

Helping Hands is a group of volunteer health professionals who have provided free healthcare to the poor and homeless in Gainesville, Florida since October, 1989. The clinic is staffed by social workers, registered nurses, advanced registered nurse practitioners, physicians, and community service volunteers. Over the years, there have been 15,000 clinic visits with over 4,200 individuals seeking care. More than half those served are homeless, ranging from months to decades on the streets. 

For more information about Helping Hands, including a seven minute video and articles from the Gainesville Sun, visit


We are very grateful to Dianne for spearheading this project, and hope for many more projects like it in the future to give nursing home residents opportunities to participate in the larger community.



Mark your calendars now for the annual Friends Across the Ages Holiday Party!  It will be held Sunday, December 4th from 2:30-4:30pm at North Florida Rehab and Specialty Care Center.  This annual event has become a long standing tradition with our organization.  We start with some caroling with the residents of NFRSC in the dining room for about 45 minutes, then proceed to the conference room for some holiday treats, volunteer recognitions, and warm holiday visiting time with one another.  This year we will also be sharing a little bit about some exciting changes we are planning for the new year (and see our December issue of our snail mail newsletter The Bridge for more information as well).  We hope to see you there!


Also, watch for our December Nursing Home News email newsletter for other holiday events.  Already on the schedule: on Saturday, December 10th  at 10am, students from St. Francis Catholic High School will be hosting a sing-a-long for the residents of Signature Health Care—they’d love for you to join them!




Each month, in addition to groups that meet weekly for regular volunteering/visitation, Friends Across the Ages sponsors a few special events and activities at various nursing homes.  These events require no ongoing commitment, though we do ask you to let us know ahead of time if you plan to attend any of these events so that we can be on the lookout for you.  If you would like more information about our weekly visitation groups and becoming a regular Friends Across the Ages volunteer, please let us know that as well.  Here are our special events for October:


Thursday, November 3rd,  1:30 – 2:30PM – “Storytellers’ Society” at Parklands – These monthly group gatherings are a wonderful way to share, reminisce, and truly get to know the residents at Parklands Nursing and Rehab.


Thursday, November 11th,  1:30 – 2:30PM – Casino Time at Parklands – A monthly event at Parklands Nursing and Rehab – Come help deal blackjack and poker for the residents (who play for prizes), or just help cheer them on!


Thursday, November 17th, 2:30-3:30 PM -- Birthday celebration -- Help us wish a happy birthday to all residents of Parklands Nursing and Rehab with birthdays in November. Meet us in the dining room where we will have singing and cake. Volunteers are needed to help gather the residents together, serve the cake, sing, clean up, etc.  Do you play an instrument or have some other talent?  We are always looking for new entertainment for the party – let us know! 




Please see the above list for locations of the various events.  Directions to all the nursing homes can be found at:

Events are open to everyone (children are welcome at most events, please inquire). Please contact us and let us know if you plan to attend one of these events so that our coordinators can be on the lookout for you.  Please call (352) 381-1117 or email


This is the November 2011 newsletter of Friends Across the Ages nursing home outreach.
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