Senior Health

4/2/2020 | By Terri L. Jones

Let me start by saying that I am not a seamstress. I’ve made curtains, pillows, and pads for my dogs’ crates, but my finished products have always looked homemade, with bunchy, sometimes crooked seams and lots of hanging threads. Also, I own a circa 1950s sewing machine that jams a lot (more hanging threads!) and requires that I hand-wind the bobbins. In fact, I hadn’t even used my vintage sewing machine in a couple years and wasn’t sure I remembered how.

But, when I ran across a video about making face masks to protect against COVID-19, it really grabbed my attention. I had been looking for a way to help out in this crisis, while also keeping my “social distance,” plus I had a bin full of fabric scraps, some elastic and lots of time on my hands! Perhaps this was the opportunity I had been looking for.


My initial sewing attempts were clumsy. On the first mask, I sewed the lining on upside-down, so the raw seam was showing (I pinking-sheared it, hoping to make it look intentional). Next, I had a couple of fabric-cutting snafus and had to toss several pieces and start over.

But after my rocky start, I finally got the hang of the process and posted a photo on Facebook of my husband in one of my creations. My dad and stepmom quickly asked if I’d make them some, and a neighbor, whose husband is a doctor and who is practicing social distancing at home, also requested one. My sister, who works at the hospital, even suggested that I donate some of my masks to her hospital!

Face mask made for patients and nurses

Right now, I have about 10 masks cut out waiting to be sewn and enough fabric to make even more (once I get my hands on more elastic). Suddenly, I have a purpose – small as it may be – which gives some meaning to this pretty repetitive string of days, weeks, maybe months.

I’ve learned that despite how powerless we all are in the face of this crisis, we can at the very least help others get through it. Share some toilet paper with a neighbor, pick up groceries for someone who is self-isolating, or just call someone who may be lonely. All those small things we do for one another will help us make it to the other side and ultimately bring us all closer in the process!

Face masks are a great way to help avoid germs. Find some other ways to stay healthy during the pandemic.

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over 10 years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones