Photo provided by Susan Matheny Vicki Kwiatkowski, of Flaktwood Fan, helps bag leaves at a home at 2130 Louis Drive, Niles, on Thursday. Employees of Flaktwood volunteered for the United Way of Southwest Michigan’s Senior Action Day.

Archived Story

Seniors get help in the yard

Published 10:39pm Thursday, November 3, 2011

Niles Township resident Judy McLean returned home to a pleasant surprise Thursday afternoon.
All the leaves in her yard had been raked, bagged and placed at the end of her small driveway.
“That helped me out quite a bit. I have a hard time doing my yard work nowadays,” said McLean, who suffers

James Knight, of United Federal Credit Union, helped blow leaves at the home of Mable Mortham, 119 N. Eighth St., Niles, on Thursday. Employees of UFCU volunteered for the United Way of Southwest Michigan’s Senior Action Day.

from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
McLean is one of more than 100 area seniors whose fall yard work was done by more than 350 volunteers Thursday afternoon. It was all part of the United Way of Southwest Michigan’s “Senior Day of Action.”
In addition to raking leaves, volunteers cleaned gutters and winterized windows all over Berrien and Cass counties.
“People don’t always think about how difficult winter preparation is for seniors,” said Christine Vanlandingham, fund and product development officer for Area Agency on Aging, Region 4. “Leaf raking is an aerobic activity that requires twisting, bending, lifting and reaching. There’s great potential for physical strain and injury.”
Gutter cleaning and window insulation put seniors at risk of falling, Vanlandingham said. “Falls are the leading cause of injury and the most common cause of hospitalization for older adults.
A fall can impact quality of life and result in the loss of a senior’s ability to live independently,” she said.
United Way partnered with Region 4 Area Agency on Aging to connect with seniors and opened the process to other area seniors to sign up for help. The Home Depot provided supplies and Entergy helped sponsor the event. Pizza Hut provided gift certificates.

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