Who we are is the sum of our life experiences. What experiences would most be on your mind if you lived to be 100? If you ask our client, George, he’ll tell you about his farming days and how he loved his horse, Jerry. And if you want advice from this gentle centenarian, he’s got 3 words… “Eat dessert first!”
George loves apple pie, old movies, and fresh air. He remembers his days of farming, building homes, playing sports, waltzing, and traveling. He may not remember what happened yesterday. That didn’t stop his family and friends from throwing him one party after another for his 100th birthday last month. Bayshore wanted to make his actual birthday unique and pulled off a surprise party to remember. Thanks to one of his Bayshore caregivers, Barb, Christine, our new Community Outreach Specialist, learned George had recently been talking about his horse, Jerry. Thus, a birthday “experience” was born.
On October 15th, his big day, our Bayshore Home Care team joined with The Oaks of Clearwater (where he lives) to bring George a blast from the past. Decked out in farmhand attire, the staff at Bayshore brought in special four-legged guests – some adorable farm animals…and a horse! Surrounded by three generations of family and his friends, George had a big smile on his face when he saw the animals parading in. He spent a great deal of time petting and talking to the horse, reminiscing about his days on the farm. “I loved having contact with the animals, taking care of them. And they took care of me too,” said George. He used to ride Jerry into town and to school, they were constant companions.
Using all the senses to elicit memories and connect them to new experiences can be an enriching emotional experience at any age. People with short-term memory loss are understandably anxious about forgetting their past. Providing opportunities to share memories by telling stories, looking at photographs and souvenirs, or even recreating a beloved time in their lives can help create implicit feelings of happiness that last. This is where caregivers make a tremendous difference. “The last two years, since Bayshore has been involved, his life has been so much brighter and extended longer than we ever expected,” said family member, Robert, who attended the party.
So, with apple pie in one hand and a petting zoo at his fingertips, George celebrated his 100 years in style. With lots of photos around, we hope to keep that memory alive.