Three elder stories from the past week:
1) At Enoteca Maria on Staten Island, NY, Italian grandmas are put to work sharing their culinary skills. The restaurant hires a rotating group of elder ladies to cook their evening meals, for a truly authentic Italian dinner. Talk about spontaneity–each featured “chef” chooses her own ingredients and cooks whatever she feels like making that day – just like at home!
2) Lori Lorraine, our Volunteer Manager, told me this story:
“Yesterday at church we had 3 recognitions; first two babies were baptized, the second was recognition of our high school graduates and the third was of elders. We’ve never recognized elders before. Our pastors asked one woman who has been a member for 45 years to reflect on the church family. She had written a paragraph which they read. Then anyone who would admit to being an elder received a hand-painted rock from our pastor Margaret Scott. She ran out of rocks and had to make promises to deliver them at a later date.
I thought it was neat.”
3) We had a photo shoot to promote our future Green Houses, but since we haven’t built any yet, we took 5 elders to the home of our CFO, John Toscano, to use his living room, dining room, kitchen and garden. Some of the elders had a fair degree of dementia, but were able to attend to the instructions.
John’s wife Carol and the other staff were amazed at what happened to the elders during 5 hours of preparing food, helping in a garden, sitting and sharing a meal in a home together. It was like they discovered long-repressed energy and joy. Context and engagement are truly powerful, and this is a great example of why we need to continue this journey of aging in community.