Childhood Friends Recycle Flowers for Seniors with Memory Loss

What started as a two-person team has bloomed into an organization with over 100 volunteers.

Posted in , Sep 24, 2019

Childhood Friends Recycle Flowers for Seniors with Memory Loss

Longtime friends Karen Wooldridge and Laura Hogan are spreading joy with flowers in Bloomington, Minnesota. Every day, the pair recycles discarded flowers from events, weddings, funerals and grocery stores, and turns them into beautiful bouquets for seniors, CBS News reports.

Their organization, Bluebirds & Blooms, launched in 2018 when Wooldridge and Hogan began repurposing dozens of flowers on their kitchen island and delivering them to memory care residents.

The hobby-turned-nonprofit business, named after their Camp Fire youth troop, The Bluebirds, a co-ed inclusive youth development organization, consists of 150 volunteers working 5 days a week. Volunteers pick up the donated flowers, deconstruct the floral settings and then rearrange them into simple flower bouquets. The group rearranges nearly a thousand bouquets a month, delivering them to different facilities throughout 30 communities, mostly homes for seniors with memory loss.

Assisted living facilities like The Wealshire are very welcoming of the volunteers, who hand the bouquets off with a smile and a friendly conversation. Sheryl Hassan, the center’s director of life enrichment, says the flowers serve as a reminder that someone cares. "They're confused and sad, and just to have such a simple thing as a bouquet of flowers… just brightens their day," she told CBS.

Hogan says that rather than finding the work difficult, she considers it rewarding to work with people who are struggling with memory loss. “It’s happy to us. It’s doing something good,” she said.

Wooldridge also enjoys the visits just as much as Hogan does. “It’s a moment,” she said on the organization’s website. “We get to fulfill our mission and bring joy to some people that might otherwise not have a visitor that day.”

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