Group brightens lives of local senior citizens

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Campus volunteers brighten the lives of senior citizens

When Forestine Jackson’s dad died in April at the age of 103, she started thinking about ways to carry on his legacy.

“I was just thinking about some things that my parents used to say to us. One of the things we were raised to do was to take care of elderly people,” says Jackson, records processor in the Department of Psychology’s Adult Development and Aging lab.

“Up till my dad was 99, he was out helping take care of seniors. When you go out into the community, you find that there’s such a great need. Mostly people are helping youth. Seniors tend to be forgotten.”

Jackson made a New Year’s resolution to start doing something four or five times a year.

“I started out with a small group and found a low-income housing/independent living group on the west side of South Bend,” she says. “I asked if I could do something from time to time. I just send emails to friends and co-workers and say, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’”

The group, made up of people from the lab, from housekeeping and some from First Year of Studies, started at Thanksgiving by giving pumpkin pies to residents of LaSalle Park Homes and William C. Ellison apartments in South Bend.

Jackson plans something monthly or on holidays, choosing simple and inexpensive gifts to make it easy for people to donate. The group gave stuffed bears and cards for Valentine’s Day, and in March sent everyone an Easter card with different Bible verses in them.

Though the group is informal, Jackson encourages others to take an hour a month and make a difference in the lives of senior citizens. She can be reached at fblake2@nd.edu.