“Everyone you meet here has had a long life with many stories to tell,” Marie, an old resident, told Sylvia, the new one. “And so you’ll always have someone to talk to. It may take a little doing but once you get them talking, you’ll find that it’s been worth it.”
At The Hallmark some people sit by the elevators to watch the traffic and perhaps get in some social action. “This is my Times Square”, Ella said “and I wouldn’t miss it for anything.”
Ernie, a widower, thinks life in assisted living is a little too quiet for him. He met Hannah, a woman he likes very much and they began a weekly play-reading group that was quickly joined by other residents. Hannah would like to read Romeo and Juliet with Ernie and herself in the title roles. Ernie is insisting on Antony and Cleopatra.
Henry loves poker, but his family thinks that playing cards is sinful. When he moved into our facility, he was delighted to join three other residents in a weekly game. He is even more delighted to tell everyone he knows that he’s ahead $1.27.
George joined the choir at his assisted living facility because he loves to sing. His wife had always discouraged him from “caterwauling”, so he confined his singing to the shower. The choir master told him he has a fine tenor. No one had ever praised his voice before. George has come out of the shower.
Marcella, who is 78, is convinced that she has no talent for knitting. Lucy sits down with her every afternoon and teaches her to knit and crochet. Marcella made a little red sweater for her new grandson, and he wore it when he visited her. Her three year-old granddaughter took her aside to place an order for pink.
What’s assisted living like? It’s not like a hospital, and it’s not like home. At The Hallmark, a very pleasant residence, it’s more like living in an apartment with meals provided and medical help if needed. Is it a community? A community is a body of people with something in common, and so it is a community. There is a sense of comfortable enclosure, helping hands, and people who care.
Lorraine said one day, “I got to know Gert because I heard her giving someone her recipe for brownies, which is different than mine. She uses bitter chocolate. I never convinced Gert, who’s stuck in her ways, to just use cocoa, as I do.
“My brownies are better.”
Joe was a Civil War buff, but thought he was alone in his passion, until he came down to breakfast one day wearing a Union cap. Larry said, “Let me show you mine.” His was from the Confederacy. They had a great discussion about the Battle of Antietam, and then went on a bus trip all the way to Maryland to see it for themselves.
Roz and Fred began to talk because they noticed that they were both reading the same book, “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee”. They became good friends.