Residents at two Virginia long-term care facilities are enjoying the sight of dozens of freshly painted birdhouses hung throughout their buildings thanks to a community effort.

United Way of Roanoke Valley hosted a painting and hanging event in mid-June at the South Roanoke Nursing Home and Richfield Senior Living in Salem to re-engage the aging community as a part of its annual Day of Action, an effort designed to tackle specific challenges of the Roanoke and Salem communities. 

“[Residents] have been secluded for so long, the goal was to get them active again and to enrich their lives,” Brooke Gill, investor relations specialist at United Way, told Mcknight’s Long Term Care News on Monday.

Both older and younger volunteers devoted their time to help paint around 50 birdhouses with various colors and designs. “It was really a cross-generational effort,” said Gill. 

The volunteers then hung the colorful birdhouses in trees along a path that residents can walk on. Birdhouses also were hung in front of residents’ windows.

“They were really excited about the opportunity to walk the campus and follow the trail of birdhouses,” Gill said.

Judy Adams, a resident at Richfield Senior Living in Salem, offered her own time to paint the birdhouses alongside the other volunteers, and now she “enjoys checking on the birdhouses to see which are being occupied,” Gill noted. 

Vickie Miller, community engagement manager at Richfield Living, said that residents were grateful for the volunteer effort.

“Our residents are not only enjoying the birdhouses but are appreciating United Way’s support of Richfield,” she said.

Miller also spoke to how the facility works to support environmental preservation and that they placed the birdhouses in a way that would cultivate healthy wildlife.

The “boots-on-the-ground” efforts of United Way are an example of how simple changes can address the “often overlooked needs of community members” and solve those specific issues, Gill said.