Back Porch Conversation

Neighbors Carol Rooker and Delores (Red) Norton talk about the latest news and weather on the shared porch between their homes at El Campo Retirement on the West Loop. With activities on hold and limited vistors at the facility, residents are making the best of the situation. These residents, some of whom are on limited incomes, could use essential items. Members of the community are invited to drop off donations at the El Campo Leader-News office during regular business hours. The newspaper office will be closed Monday for Labor Day holiday.

The El Campo Leader-News is heading up a collection of needed items for elderly residents living in two affordable housing facilities in El Campo. Since visits from family members have declined and activities like bingo games have ceased at these facilities, there is less interaction with others from the outside world. The collection is being held to hopefully lift their spirits and bring a little cheer to these folks.

Debbie Sczech, director at the El Campo Retirement facility, which has 35 residents, says they welcome donations of necessary items for the residents who are on limited incomes. To offer encouragement, something as simple as a card, letter or even a picture colored by a child can lift their spirits.

“They get excited just for a little bit of attention,” Sczech said.

Angela Covarrubio is service coordinator at Prairie Village, an independent affordable living facility with 38 units. Residents at that facility, who are also on a limited income, welcome donations of certain goods as well as written mementos.

“Last time we had activities was in March,” Covarrubio said. “We are on lock-down.”

The activity center was once the social hub of the facility. It’s where residents once gathered on a regular basis for bingo, educational programs and more.

“They used to come here for morning coffee, watch TV, play games .... to gossip and visit,” Covarrubio said. “Even non-residents would come by to visit.”

Lack of activities and isolation has affected some residents mentally and emotionally. Add in health complications like COPD, heart problems and dementia, “it is frustrating down here,” she said. 

Some are fortunate to have family nearby who check on their loved ones. But for those who have no one, life can be lonely and depressing.

“They miss social interaction,” she said. However, she said, some have adapted well.

When activities do resume will be determined by upper management at each facility. 

“They are missing the activities we usually do,” Sczech said. “When we go back to a regular routine, we will be so busy.”

Sczech says they could also use “prayers and love. They appreciate anything. Something so simple means a lot to them.”

How Can You 

Help The Elderly?

 The community is invited to donate items to be distributed to residents in each of these facilities by dropping them by the El Campo Leader-News office, 203 E. Jackson, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Please note, the office will be closed on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7. 

Here are some suggested items, however please avoid food items that perishable and hard to chew. Suggested items are books, crossword puzzles, word search books, puzzles, socks for men and women, caps for men, adult pull ups in all sizes, quarters (for the laundry room), small bottles of laundry and dish detergent, cleaning supplies, paper plates, paper towels, toilet paper, face tissues, batteries for personal grooming items, cross stitch kits, stationary, cards, notepads, writing pens and postage stamps. Cards of encouragement and children’s artwork can also be dropped off at the newspaper office.

For questions, call 979-543-3363.

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