Forget Me Not: An open call to visit elderly loved ones | CraigDailyPress.com

Forget Me Not: An open call to visit elderly loved ones

Noelle Leavitt Riley

Noelle Leavitt Riley

Sunset Meadows I and II wrote an important letter to the editor that appeared in Friday's Craig Daily Press.

The letter was an open call for visitors to stop by and hang out with the elderly residents at both buildings that act as senior housing in Craig.

"We would welcome a get together visit from you when you can come and sit a spell with us. As we grow older our needs change requiring more love from others as family and friends move or make their own lives without us, leaving some of us lonely," stated the letter.

It is so true. Senior citizens need love, attention and interaction just as much — if not more — than the rest of us.

"Come by and play cards or BINGO with us some Friday morning beginning at 9:15 a.m. at Sunset Meadows II. Then at Sunset Meadows I on the following Friday BINGO is at 1 p.m. Come and watch or try your hand at bowling on the Wii during the week and other activities," the letter said.

Sometimes, it's just a small gesture that can make all the difference to our elderly population.

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I was reminded of that when I interviewed seniors for the Nifty Nineties profiles I helped compile for Sunset Meadows a few weeks ago. I enjoyed the conversations I had with the senior women I met.

One person in particular hit a soft spot in my heart — Iris Kuskie. She seemed a little down the day I met with her for the interview, and I made it my goal to make her smile.

She graciously told me about her family and her deceased husband who served in the South Pacific during World War II.

The conversation made me think of the book "Unbroken," written by Laura Hillenbrand. I had just finished reading the book that highlighted Air Force men who fought in the South Pacific during World War II.

It was a grueling account of prisoners of war and the high number of American deaths that took place during that time.

For whatever reason, I felt compelled to give the book to Iris. She said she liked to read, so a couple of weeks after the Nifty Nineties story was published, I stopped by her room to drop off a paperback copy.

I'm not sure if she appreciated the book or not, but my visit certainly brought a smile to her face. Mission accomplished. I just wanted to make her feel special, and I also truly wanted to share the book with her.

I hope she reads it, and if she doesn't, at least I know I made her smile. It was rewarding for me just to see her happy face.

It's extremely sad to know that many elders across the United States are often forgotten by society and left alone in senior housing, assisted living and/or nursing homes.

It takes so little time for us to let them know they're loved, and it means the world to them.

My hope is that the letter to the editor that I ran in Friday's paper reached a soft spot in someone's heart and will prompt them to visit Craig's senior citizens at Sunset Meadows I and II or maybe even Sandrock Ridge Care & Rehab.

Noelle Leavitt Riley is the editor of the Craig Daily Press and the Saturday Morning Press. She and her husband, Shawn Riley, run the Forget Me Not organization where they take donated flowers to elders in nursing homes, letting them know they're not forgotten by society. Reach her at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com.

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