About Floral Stories
My name is Becky Kuhn, I’m a social work intern from the University of Texas at Austin. I am working with Emmie and her team at Assisting Hands of West Austin. I’m working on a project with Assisting Hands that includes implementing a small scale flower donation program through Trader Joe’s that will provide fresh flower arrangements to older adults in the community. Included in this program we will have volunteers assist older adult document their story and then pass it on to their loved ones. The name of the project is, “Floral Stories.”
The idea behind the project is to help an organic visit through flower deliveries. Who doesn’t love an impromptu flower delivery? This project is designed to help combat social isolation and provide narrative therapy, by allowing individuals to conduct a life review. This process also helps older adults or people living with disabilities feel connected to their communities.
What inspired this idea?
When I was volunteering with a hospice organization in Bend, Oregon they had a partnership with the bloomproject.com. They would supply donated flowers to local hospice organizations to give to their clients. When I would bring in fresh flowers to my clients and their families, I would see how it naturally created a conversation.
After moving to Austin and working with Assisting Hands, I came to understand just how prevalent social isolation and depression is with older adults. Austin has one of the largest growing older adult communities in the nation. Emmie and I felt that implementing a flower donation program with a chance for older adults to conduct a life review would be helpful to address these concerns for the people in our community.
What did people think?
The clients that got the first deliveries loved them! I was able to sit with one couple for over an hour and talk with them about their life experiences and what they saw for their future. One woman had me help her pick out her outfit that she intended to wear for dinner that evening. I was able to visit another woman who was currently in the hospital and meet her family. She was very happy to have some flowers with her while she was staying in the hospital.
The experience created many opportunities to connect with older adults in the Austin community. I met some wonderful people on the first round of deliveries. I’m eagerly anticipating the next time we are able to make Floral Stories deliveries.