2019 Pioneer Network and Rockport Healthcare Services Community Commitment Awards
Honoring Carter Catlett Williams and Dee Collins
Congratulations to the 2019 Community Commitment Award recipients:
Chelsea Place, a Memory Care Assisted Living community in Aurora, Colorado, is a place where engagement with the broader community, and with children, is a part of their DNA.
So, it’s not surprising that for the residents of Chelsea Place, the idea of reading with first graders was a welcome opportunity. Residents, like Fred and Carol Hall, were instrumental in developing the Grandfriend Program. Fred expressed concern about how his wife, Carol, who is living with dementia, would be received by the children, and so he and Carol came up with the idea of reaching – and teaching – children, through storybooks. Using carefully selected books like “When Grammy Forgets, I Remember” and “A Heart Full of Gems”, the goals of the Grandfriend program, as defined by the residents, is to: teach the facts and myths about Dementia and Aging, share the importance of physical touch, including how to give a hug to someone who uses a wheelchair; help the children understand how to respond to repetitive questions, mistaking a student as a grandchild, and other situations they may encounter when with someone living with dementia; and to teach them how to adapt as they learned how to overcome hearing and vision issues by sitting very close, showing their elder the pictures in the book they’re reading to them, and speaking loudly and clearly.
Grandfriends has resulted in deepened relationships between the Residents and the students as well as participating together in other school events such as music programs. Memories are being made and saved through commemorative books of photos and encouraging notes written to the students by the Elders.
CONCESSION STAND HEROES
It started with an unmet need – the local Parks and Recreation Department needed a group who could consistently provide services to help run the concession stand at sporting events including basketball, T-Ball, Softball, and Little League games. For the Elder Council at Washington Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Chipley, Florida, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to interact and serve the community.
For the past four years, the program has grown to include more Elders and care partners, as well as serving more events. Attending events together, they serve candy, nachos, hot dogs and more. A strong connection to the community was behind the decision to provide free concessions to those who didn’t have the resources to provide a donation to cover costs.
By serving the community through the concessions program, the Elders not only have a renewed sense of purpose, they have made meaningful connections with the community. They receive the benefits of inter-generational interactions, and build meaningful relationships with the children who participate in local sports, as well as coaches, families, and other members of the community. It also provides the Elders an opportunity to be well known. Members of the community now know the Elders by name, and inquire about them if for some reason they are not at an event. The sense of pride and commitment the Elders have in the services they provide is truly astonishing. It gives them a sense of fulfillment and purpose that traditional programs are unable to achieve.
Concession Stand Heroes continues to grow and evolve based on the wisdom and desires of the Elders at Washington Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
MONTESSORI INSPIRED LIFE: COMMUNITY OUTREACH COMMUNITY
In August 2017, the Montessori Inspired Lifestyle was implemented at Regal Palms, an approach that focuses on individuals’ strengths and promotes opportunities for success each day.
To support this approach, the residents participate in committee meetings where they plan upcoming events and socials. It was during one of the committee meetings that a resident suggested contributing to worthy causes in the broader community. With this resident’s help and guidance, the Pearl Garden Community Outreach Committee was formed.
This committee meets monthly, deciding which organizations they’ll support, the donation items needed and set timelines. Organizations and initiative chosen have included the St. Paul’s church holiday food drive, a blanket drive for animals, along with donations to the ASPCA and collecting shower necessities for the local homeless shelter.
The work has not been without challenges, as the residents at Regal Palms are living with varying degrees of memory loss and capabilities. Even those who consistently participate often forget the event for the upcoming month. And so the team is supported by the staff who post flyers and who have created a committee board for residents, with reminders of which group they have joined.
The residents proudly talk about their contributions and take pride in their job. They feel a sense of purpose and meaning both at Regal Palms and in the greater community with many stories to share of how participation in the committee has increased quality life.
The Pearl Garden residents are tearing down the barriers that “this person cannot do this because they are living with dementia”. The residents of Regal Palms are proving that everyone has the ability to contribute to society.
- Business to Business Food Challenge, Rouse, Youngsville, Pennsylvania
- Blessings in a Backpack, Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center Nursing Home, Brush, Colorado
- Soul Food, Prestonsburg HealthCare, Prestonsburg, Kentucky
- Joy Community Church Partnership: A Heart to Serve, The Friendly Home, Rochester, New York
It was in 2015 when resident and staff of Rouse in Youngsville, PA began coordinating a food drive benefiting children in the school district as a supplementation to their “Backpack Program”, and the Business to Business Food Challenge began.
For the residents and staff of Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center Nursing Home in Brush, Co, it was 7 years ago when they began gathering each week to pack bags of food for children in the community who have little or no food on the weekends. Blessings in a Backpack is their program.
The Elders of Prestonsburg HealthCare in Prestonburg, KY began Soul Food after they were approached about a request from the Floyd County Soul Food program to help start a program that would help to feed hungry school children on the weekends.
It was a partnership with Joy Community Church in Rochester, NY that provided the opportunity for the residents of The Friendly Home, to provide service to the community. Working with the church’s soup kitchen, they prepare and package baked goods, serve meals, organization food donations for the church’s annual Thanksgiving basket give-away to community members. Joy Community Church Partnership: A Heart to Serve
Penny Shaw, Nursing Home Resident, Aging and Disability Advocate
Penny Shaw is a nursing home resident, aging and disability advocate, activist, independent scholar, published writer, speaker and consultant. She is a member of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs’ Citizens Advisory Committee, of the Executive Committee of the Disability Policy Consortium of Massachusetts, the Access Focus Group at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a user/expert with the Institute for Human Centered Design in Boston. We want to specially recognize Penny for the community commitment she has demonstrated in her advocacy for herself and others in Braintree, Massachusetts.
Penny shared the following message.
Humans since the beginning of time have worked together. If one man in the wild successfully shot an animal, he brought it home and shared the food with everyone in his village. Cooperation, mutuality and togetherness are in our DNA. We live in community and cannot survive without community.
As far as myself, I am privileged that the nursing facility where I live is located in a village-like Town. I live only 4 blocks from our Town center – Town Hall, public library, post office, retail stores, restaurants, parks and even a lake where you can swim.
I benefit from the strength, vitality, neighborliness and prosperity of living in my community. So, I feel it is my responsibility to see that everyone in town benefits like me. I am actively engaged as a disability advocate, having spoken at Town Council where I got us an Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator. Currently, I am a plaintiff in an ADA Title II lawsuit for failure of our Town to be fully ADA compliant. This lawsuit aims to assure that everyone with disabilities in our town has full access to all Town services and programs. In this way, I seek justice and fairness for all. We are one world.
I appreciate very much the Special Recognition Award you are giving me today. My work is actually hardly work. It is energizing and meaningful to be of service trying to make positive change.