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The Bird Feed

The Student News Site of South Forsyth High School

The Bird Feed

The Student News Site of South Forsyth High School

The Bird Feed

Bridging Smiles and Ending Loneliness: An FBLA Project Focused on Helping our Senior Citizens

Hansini Katragadda
The seniors relived fond memories as they glued pictures into their scrapbooks. Volunteers helped when they could and listened to the stories shared at the table.

One of the biggest problems faced by seniors today is loneliness. In fact, one-fourth of adults over 65 suffer from loneliness according to the CDC. Older people usually live far from their friends and family and serious health problems can arise from it.

Oaks at Shiloh Point is an assisted living and memory care center home to 35 residents in Cumming, GA. Like most other old age homes, they have to keep their residents active and happy. That’s where the FBLA Project steps in.

Bridging Smiles and Ending Loneliness is a project started by sophomores Hansini Katragadda and Krisha Neupane. When they were doing their research, they noticed something interesting.

“We decided to focus on senior citizens for our project because we noticed the percentage of elderly people in Forsyth County has been increasing,” Katragadda said.

More senior citizens means more people in old age homes. At some point, the staff could become overwhelmed by the number of residents and not be able to give them all the necessary attention and run the facility smoothly.

“The main purpose of our project was to help residents feel less lonely and smile more. We also wanted to help decrease the staff members’ workload,” Neupane explained.

One of the residents’ favorite activities is playing Bingo. Usually, a member of the staff runs the game but the volunteers now help out too. (Hansini Katragadda)

The group of volunteers help by organizing activities, talking to seniors and making gifts to pass out. Their actions let the staff handle other responsibilities, knowing the seniors are in good hands.

“Our biggest project was making care bags with items like lotion, chocolate and bracelets for the senior citizens. We made 140 care bags for three different locations and passed them out,” Katragadda said. 

The seniors loved getting care packages and cards, and scrapbooking with each other gave them opportunities to bond and get to know one another. It’s a change of pace from their daily schedule and gives them something to look forward to.

“Many of the residents came out of their rooms more to participate in activities. They had something to do other than sit in their rooms,” Katragadda said.

Both the staff and residents were very grateful for the students’ help. Even little things like joining them for a game of Bingo added a new twist to their day. It wasn’t just residents of the nursing home who benefited from the project, though; volunteers also felt better working alongside the staff.

Volunteers met after school to create care packages for the seniors to use during their daily life. Here they are posing with the finished product at one of the three different locations they were distributed at.

“Our favorite thing about working with the seniors and nursing home staff is the smiles on their faces and their appreciation,” Neupane said. “This made us feel like we were making a difference.”

The project has been very successful and Katragadda and Neupane are now looking ahead to expanding it to other Oaks Senior Living establishments in the area. Bridging Smiles and Ending Loneliness could make a greater impact and the sophomores already have more ideas.

“One idea we have is to have a tea time for the residents where they can sit down and share memories with volunteers, other residents, and staff. We also want to incorporate more outdoor activities for the residents such as nature walks and gardening,” Neupane said.

This project has opened many eyes to senior citizens’ struggles everywhere. It’s made a big impact and will hopefully encourage others to make similar efforts.  If you know any senior citizens, try to do something nice for them. Who knows, it might just make their day!



“U.S. Older Population Grew From 2010 to 2020 at Fastest Rate Since 1880 to 1890” by Zoe Caplan from the United States Census Bureau

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About the Contributor
Avani Prabhu
Avani Prabhu, News Editor
Avani Prabhu is a sophomore at South Forsyth High School. She is returning for her second year in  The Bird Feed and is excited to be back. Some of her hobbies include writing, drawing, reading, and playing Minecraft. She also loves to play board games and enjoys beating her brother in games like chess and Monopoly.  She loves to create things and share them with other people. She has several guppies but is obsessed with cats and hopes to get one in the future. Avani is very passionate about the environment and hopes to one day become a Biologist.