August 24, 2021 -- Every Friday, an art room at Redwood Terrace gets filled with hundreds of flowers, countless colors and aromas, and smiles from ear to ear. Residents at the senior living community create beautiful flower arrangements courtesy of weekly donations from Trader Joe’s in Escondido. The simple gesture from the local grocer has a significant impact, adding a splash of color and boost to morale for many of these older adults.
“It’s just a really nice activity,” said Shirley Corless, who co-leads the program at the senior living community. “Many residents do their own flowers, and some make arrangements for others as well.”
When the unsold flowers, usually about 50 bunches, are brought to the community Friday mornings, Shirley and another independent living resident separate and clean them. Around 2 p.m., they take the flowers to the health center, where they encourage residents to create bouquets and vase displays.
“I’ve done flower arranging all my life; in England we kind of all do it,” chuckled Shirley, who’s accompanied most afternoons by Webster, her 14-month-old Australian labradoodle.
In addition to increased socialization, activities like flower arranging can have significant emotional health benefits, something Shirley has witnessed firsthand.
“Many residents have really improved from when the classes first started,” she said. “Their conversation skills and interactions with each other are wonderful; they’re very happy.”
A retired social worker, Shirley understands the importance of community partnerships and deeply appreciates the kindness of her neighbors at Trader Joe’s.
“I just hope staff at Trader Joe’s know how much it brightens the lives of people who may not have the opportunity to enjoy these flowers otherwise,” she added.
Read the article in the San Diego Union-Tribune: