Timber Ridge at Talus is a 10-year-old, resort-style senior living community nestled in Issaquah, Washington, just 15 miles from downtown Seattle. With views of the famous Cascade Mountain range, natural trails and foothills to hike, and the sophistication and culture of a vibrant city, Timber Ridge is the perfect place for seniors to enjoy an engaged lifestyle.
One of the many ways seniors at Timber Ridge at Talus stay socially engaged and active is by volunteering with activities inside the senior living community, or with the community that surrounds Timber Ridge!
Serving within Timber Ridge
Cindy Wesche is the Community Life Services Director for independent living, and oversees all fitness, transportation, and social activities, including volunteering. She also works with the team who oversees activities for residents in skilled nursing, assisted living, and memory care. She said volunteering at Timber Ridge is a huge part of residents’ lives.
Each week, two groups of women from within the Timber Ridge community – one group for independent living and one for assisted living and memory care – cut and arrange fresh flowers for the dining rooms and the common areas. Another volunteer delivers newsletters directly to each resident’s door every month. That means that our nearly 400 residents can enjoy an informative newsletter while soaking in the sights and smells of a beautiful flower arrangement, all thanks to Timber Ridge volunteers!
Timber Ridge’s library committee is entirely run by volunteers, who check out and put away the books as well as take them to those in memory care or who have mobility issues.
”We had someone who worked in the library and loved it. She moved to assisted living, but our library team knows how much she did for our library, and how much she loves books, so they go up and read to her,” shared Cindy.
“And she is doing so much better now. I think it’s because the people she worked beside saw the love and brought it back to her.”
Cindy explained there are activities and volunteer opportunities for all interests.
“For those more into fitness, we have organized running and hiking clubs. These are resident-led, so they email and organize themselves. We have a choir – the Rusty Chords – as well as a quartet group. Performing for others in the community is their way of giving back.”
One gentlemen who had a career as a tour guide likes to share his adventures with fellow Timber Ridge residents.
“Once a month he brings down his computer and gives a slide show of pictures from somewhere he’s been. People really love it,” said Cindy.
“We started with 40 attendees and now we have about 120 attendees. He also suggests places for resident trips, such as Gold Creek Pond, and offers to give a talk about the place’s history on the bus on the way to our destination.”
Another way residents at Timber Ridge help each other is through a buddy program, where they watch out for each other’s residences or pets while the other is out of town.
Helping the Surrounding Communities
Volunteering goes beyond the walls of Timber Ridge, too! Timber Ridge staff and residents frequently donate to area food banks, guide tourists as docents at the local Museum of Flight, and read to elementary school students.
Timber Ridge boasts 36 pea patches, run by residents. One resident also has a community patch and belongs to the state gardening club, according to Cindy.
“He talks to our residents and the outside community about gardening. He also has a truck and helps deliver to the local food bank, with fresh items from our gardens as well as canned goods collected from our residents.
Sometimes volunteering is passion for these seniors. Three Boeing (The aircraft manufacturing company) retirees that live at Timber Ridge are docents at the Museum of Flight and also give talks to our residents. There are residents who work with churches and do mission work, too. They’ll be gone for a month. Our community is very active,” said Cindy.
Several former teachers and principals who reside at Timber Ridge are active in a reading partnership with King County Elementary School.
“We are helping 4th and 5th graders who need assistance reading. We buy eight books, our seniors read them, and then they go to the school and talk about the story, the characters. It triggers an interest in reading for these kids,” Cindy shared.
“The librarian told us that even those students who can’t read get excited. Talking through the stories with our seniors – maybe even being able to relate to it somehow – makes it fun to read. It’s very exciting for both parties.”
Timber Ridge even has its own elves! “We have a woodworking shop here, on-site, and our residents make about 300 toys a year for the local children’s hospital,” shared Cindy.
Even those who can’t be out for a long time can participate in giving back, such as through donating shoes or canned goods. “Most people can’t live without giving a little. It can start here. They can give a half hour here and there.”
Giving That Touches the Soul
Activities and volunteering are ever-evolving at Timber Ridge. Many programs started as suggestions from the residents themselves. “We have this need inside us to give to others. When you have a home, food and drink…making a difference is very important to our seniors,” said Cindy.
And often times reaching out can have enormous benefits to both the recipient and the giver. One resident’s husband was an orphan on the Orphan Train, a movement between 1854 and 1929 to find homes throughout the U.S. and Canada for and estimated 250,000 homeless, abandoned, and orphaned children in some east coast cities, primarily New York City. According to historical sites, the children would live on trains for days or weeks before finding a home with a new family in the Midwest.
“She does talks in the community about her husband’s experience. How he was impoverished, didn’t know his family, lived on the train, and how it changed his life. She and her husband have even helped some people find their families. You can’t help but feel touched about it,” said Cindy.
Residents also get enjoyment out of having their own grandchildren come to Timber Ridge to play the piano, or perform.
“We recently had professional ballet dancers who are related to our residents come and perform. The residents just love it.”
And every time you meet a person it leads to something new, she added.
After years in the field, Cindy said the key to seniors’ wellness is to keep them moving. “I don’t want them to fall. I want them to stay in their home as long as possible. That’s why fitness, social activities, and volunteering are so important.”
She also has found that no two people are alike.
“Every day is a challenge, finding what is right for each person. And I absolutely love it!”
Timber Ridge at Talus is a senior living community in Issaquah, Washington, offering healthy, flexible assisted and independent living options, as well as specialized memory care, skilled nursing services, and rehabilitation programs. Our programs work individually to nurture psychological, physical, and social wellbeing, while simultaneously benefiting residents’ overall health. For more information about the programs, services and amenities offered at Timber Ridge, call us today at * 425-427-2929.