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Smile Project Rallies Support for Older Adults

Smile Project Rallies Support for Older Adults

Responses from across the country flood retirement community residents in village of Monroe, Ohio

PR Newswire

MONROE, Ohio, June 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- When the State of Ohio implemented a Stay-At-Home order in March and shut down visitation in nursing homes and assisted living, Ohio Living Mount Pleasant Director of Marketing Christine Apking knew things wouldn't be the same for a long time.

"I knew that our residents' lives were about to change drastically. They were at risk for social isolation, boredom, loneliness, and depression. Our team realized they would be needed by the residents more than ever before, to provide reassurance, friendship, and companionship.

"I knew I had to help. That's when I spoke with our Executive Director, Stan Kappers, and we created the Smile Project."

The Smile Project is a simple program. Apking put the word out through churches and the school district in the small community of Monroe, Ohio, that residents could use a smile. She asked for cards, letters, and children's drawings to be mailed to the campus to bring a smile to the residents who could no longer see their families.

"The response was huge," says Apking. "More than I could have ever imagined. The school superintendent even rallied her teams to generate interest."

"We have distributed more than 500 letters, cards and pictures to our campus of 400-plus residents in long-term care, short-term rehab, assisted living, and independent living," said Kim Porter, Nursing Activity Coordinator. "Each time a hand-colored picture or handwritten card is received, the residents' eyes light up and they smile from ear to ear. The Smile Project has been a blessing!"

As people shared the Smile Project opportunity, cards and letters began pouring in from around Ohio and beyond. One care package of crossword puzzles was sent by a Girl Scout Troop in California.

Some people have been especially creative. Musicians and school band classes have sent videos. Art teachers have sent canvas paintings.

"I was happy that the younger generation were so thoughtful and considerate of us," said Ginny, an Ohio Living Mount Pleasant resident. "It came at a special time of my life when I would have been celebrating my 70th anniversary with my late husband."

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio Living is one of the nation's largest not-for-profit, multi-site aging services organizations, operating 12 life plan communities, Ohio Living Home Health & Hospice and Ohio Living Foundation.

Melissa Dardinger

614.888.7800 x1098

Cision View original content to download multimedia:

SOURCE Ohio Living

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