UHS students visit with local seniors

Published 5:38 pm Monday, May 7, 2018

A group of students spent part of their morning on Monday visiting with some of the community’s elders.

Members of Unaka High School’s Future Business Leaders of America chapter, Health Occupations Students of America chapter, and the UHS Key Club made a special trip to Sycamore Springs Senior Living Community Monday. During their visit, the students worked with residents in a variety of activities including making fidget aprons, dying eggs, coloring, and decorating cookies.

The visit served as an extension of a community service project the three clubs participated in earlier in the school year when they made fidget aprons for residents of local nursing homes.

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On Monday, the students brought the fidget apron project to Sycamore Springs and helped the residents create their own aprons.

Fidget aprons can be worn by patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia and feature a variety of items such as zippers, small toys, buttons, snaps, and other things that the patient can “fidget” with.

Residents had a wide variety of items, colors, and textures to choose from when making their aprons with the students.

Unaka High School Health Occupations teacher Kayla Clawson said the aprons help provide sensory stimulation and comfort to those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Dr. Melissa Loveless, who teaches the business program at Unaka High School, said the group had received a lot of positive feedback from the fidget aprons they made earlier in the year so they decided to bring the project to Sycamore Springs and include other activities for the residents as well.

Through the project, all three groups are focusing on community service and involvement, according to Loveless.

“Community service is a lifelong thing,” Loveless said. “There is always some place you can find where you can volunteer a little of your time and give back.”

The project has also shown the students how a small act can have a big impact, Loveless said.

“I think that by going out to the nursing homes and places like this the students have seen just how big of a difference they can make for people,” she said. “A lot of these people don’t have anyone who comes to visit them.”