Today I am grateful for purpose. I think that when people age and acquire any number of ailments that keep them from doing the things they either love to do or are used to doing, they lose their sense of purpose. Not good.
We all want to feel needed, useful, necessary, yet some of us just do not. That gets worse as we age. Our bodies don’t let us play tennis/golf anymore, or we get forgetful, or our visions makes it impossible to read music, or the recipe we used to love to make needs too much fine chopping and our fingers don’t work that way these days.
The quest for purpose is something I believe progressive retirement communities strive for. And most manage it well. There is a special spot in heaven for people who work in these places, where eventually the people they serve will not get better or leave on two feet. It’s hard. It’s emotional. It’s expected. That doesn’t make it easy.
But while they are still there, the goal is to have them thrive as long as humanly possible. One of our local places, Peter Becker Community hosts an annual flower show that is designed, implemented and run by residents. It’s wonderful. Last night we saw a play at Brittany Point that had brilliant performers, with singing to challenge Sinatra, humorous bits and a big band trio I’d hire in a New York minute! Both of these events take an enormous amount of patience and energy by all involved. I applaud them.
Activity directors are “on stage” all day long, planning, encouraging, cheering and just plain listening. . .often to the same story over and over and over again. Bless their hearts. They do not patronize their residents by calling them precious or cute. They give them a real sense of purpose and I am grateful! What a joy to witness.
(The picture is of my mom, channeling the old-time movie stars and was taken when she visited us last summer.)