Organization encourages spending more time with senior citizens

Home Instead Senior Care organizes 'Sunday Dinner Pledge'

Senior citizens are an important part of our world, but sometimes they don’t get the attention they deserve.

An organization called Home Instead Senior Care is trying to change that.

They’ve launched a program called the “Sunday Dinner Pledge,” which encourages people to take a day or two to sit down and have a meal with the older people in their life.

“Our seniors sometimes get lonely and they don’t have a lot of friends or family around, so we are enhancing their lives by getting the community to pledge to eat more often with their family or their friends that are elderly,” said Sherry Shawle, who serves as Home Instead Senior Care’s Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator.

Organizers say socializing helps the elderly be more emotionally and physically healthy, and you don’t need to be an expert cook to make a difference.

“It is more important to actually have people around the table than what’s on the table,” said Shawle. “You could serve a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But it’s more the companionship, the conversation, developing memories, sharing ideas, sharing history. And that’s more important mentally to keep them stimulated emotionally.”

Dan and Donna Worthington of La Crosse are taking the pledge. They have a meal with Donna’s mother, Nelma, a couple times every week. Sometimes they even make it an extended family affair, bringing Nelma’s grandkids to dinner, too.

“It’s just a special bonding moment, basically,” said Donna Worthington. “I know families that prepare the meals and then they don’t sit with their family, they just put the meal on the table. You can learn more sitting there talking because it’s an open time.”

The Sunday Dinner Pledge runs through July 31st.

For more information, or to take the pledge, you can go to the campaign’s website. Home Instead Senior Care donates one dollar to Mobile Meals of America for every pledge.