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Fountain Hills Residents Reach Out To Older Neighbors With Handmade Cards

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Monday, April 20, 2020 - 1:54pm
Updated: Monday, February 22, 2021 - 12:52pm

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Fountain Hills Community Services
The Care Card program was launched in Fountain Hills to reach out to homebound seniors in their community.

Fountain Hills is probably best known for its iconic fountain — a focal point for community gatherings and events. But after Gov. Doug Ducey ordered Arizonans to stay home due to the coronavirus, residents in this town are finding creative ways to reach out to their most vulnerable neighbors. 

Fountain Hills is home to a large population of older adults. 

"So they're choosing not to go out, they're self-isolating as requested," said Rachael Goodwin. She's the town's Community Services director. "But that can be really difficult if you are living alone or are used to having a caregiver."

Knowing that isolation can lead to depression among seniors, Goodwin says Fountain Hills decided the best way to reach out to this group was the old-fashioned way: by putting pen to paper — or, in some cases, marker to construction paper. 

"This is our effort to try to help our seniors stay connected in a safe way, to let them know that there's folks out there that are thinking about them and we want them to still be part of our community," she explained.

The Care Card program launched nearly two weeks ago, and Fountain Hills Mayor Ginny Dickey said it was a success.

"Our community services folks had 224 cards delivered in the first week. We’re bringing them to home delivered meal clients, Give a Lift clients and assisted living facility residents," Dickey said. 

Speaking of those home delivered meals, Dickey said the number of deliveries has increased. "So in February we had about 450 meals delivered and in April we’re probably going to be up to 550, so obviously we’ve had more clients there."

A heartbreaking reality in many cities across our Valley.

But if there is any silver lining to what’s happening it might be this: Goodwin says many of these decorative, homemade cards are being made by young people. 

"And this gave them something to do as well, a way to get back to the community. Also in a safe way so that they could be creating cards and having an outlet for something to do as well as serving our seniors. So it was kind of a win-win," Goodwin said. 

A win-win that will hopefully last beyond these uncertain times. 

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