ADEL, Iowa — On April 7, Dallas County 4-H and Clover Kids Clubs held a countywide service learning project event at the Dallas County Fairgrounds community building focused on serving the county’s older Iowans. More than 185 Dallas County residents attended to see how local 4-H’ers have been engaging with local nursing, retirement homes or residents in independent living situations. Organizations offering services to older Iowans were also available for attendees to learn more about resources available to their families.
Waukee resident Joan Kaas attended the event after hearing about the service learning project and the involvement of Dallas County 4-H. “I raised eight children on 80 acres outside of Waukee. I was a Dallas County 4-H leader back in 1973. I love 4-H and wanted to come to this event to see what our 4-H youth were doing in Dallas County,” Kaas said. “It was great visiting with them about their projects. I also got information from the vendors on balance, Alzheimer’s and some other useful resources.”
Various clubs were present to showcase how they’ve been serving the older community. The Grimes Go Getters’ Sarah Capps shared how she makes tie blankets which she donates to local nursing homes. The Sugar Grove Sunshine club demonstrated how they assemble “Fidget Blankets”, with different sensory fabrics, zippers and textures, for Alzheimer patients. The Classy Clever Clovers displayed the valentines they made with an assisted living community, and the Machine Magicians showed off lit-up Christmas boxes they constructed and shared with residents at care facilities.
The 4-H youth and their parents staffed various craft tables, helping attendees made sock sundaes, cards and care packages to donate to local assisted living and nursing homes. Small prizes were also donated from community members and 4-H families for the clubs give to care centers for games like bingo.
Aging Resources, Alzheimer’s Association, Caregiver Connections, Warrior Lanes, HomeCare, Senior Life Solutions, Home Instead, Dallas County Public Health, Run Through Time and Iowa Elder Abuse Awareness had staff available to discuss what they can offer to Dallas County’s older residents. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach also had specialists presenting programs and educational resources on family life, nutrition and wellness programs.
“It was great to promote our resources in Dallas County. Younger people asked some great questions about how we serve our older residents,” said Diane Fredregill who was there representing Aging Resources of Central Iowa.
Following the event Saturday, a 4-H Clover Kid family visited their elderly neighbor to give her a care bag and sock sundae. “We found out she will turn 94 this Friday. She said she had been sick and in pain for quite some time. We were able to help her empty trash, take clothes to the basement, sort some mail and even aid her while she wasn’t feeling the best,” said the family. “She was so tickled. One of the children helped her put the socks on and then massaged her feet. She said our timing couldn’t have been better and that God sent us! It was a wonderful experience for me and my children. She wanted some pictures of her and the kids. She told us stories and the kids ate up every word. They were so proud to go and take their goodies to her. She asked us to visit again and proudly declined every phone call saying she had visitors.”
— Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
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