Written by Janet Patten
The Rock Creek Care Center of Auburn is a very special place. It is filled with mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends, many people just like you and me. The residents come from various backgrounds such as homemakers and landscapers. There is even one who used to be a professional clown. Many of these wonderful people have experienced a stroke, trauma, Alzheimer’s or memory impairment. Being challenged with these circumstances daily can be overwhelming and at times very lonely.
Assistance League has been able to compassionately touch these residents with the Angels for Aging Program. There are currently 18 angels in the program under the direction of Linda Oddo. Each angel volunteers their time to visit the residents at Rock Creek throughout each month. The focus of the angels is to bring their own special form of comfort, compassion, friendship and light to these special and deserving residents. Some may bring flowers, or small gifts, cards or balloons. Other may just spend time, holding hands and speaking kind words. Being part of this program brings great satisfaction and honor. The testimonies below demonstrate the value that this program provides to the residents and Auburn community.
Sandra Knell, Angel:
“When I go to Rock Creek, I enter the doors with a bit of anxiety fearing that some of the residents I have grown to know over the years have “moved on” since my last visit. I have been visiting since I joined the Assistance League in Sept 2009. My practice is to gift some of the residents (currently 11) at least monthly with flowers for their bedside tables. My biggest joy is the reaction that I get from the ladies when they see me walk into the room with the flowers. Most often I am greeted by “you make my day” or from those that cannot speak; I see the bright lights in their eyes when they wake to find the flowers that I left.”
Lyne Mullen, Angel:
Carol, a resident who rarely gets out of bed and never leaves her room, has now begun going to the Activity Room so she can work on her counted cross stitch project provided by Assistance League. A generally flat-affected individual, she has become animated and enthusiastic about her return to doing something she has loved to do in the past.
Chris, a male resident, requested his own single rose one day when vases were being collected for refilling.When the prettiest rose of the bunch was given to him, he requested it is given to the receptionist at the front. For a moment one day, he was empowered to do something that made him feel fully functional in the world.(He is the resident most appreciative of the visual and aromatic beauty of the roses provided by Assistance League of Greater Placer.)
Randi is a scrapbooker who waits for the days when it is time to collect all the dried up roses in their vases at RCCC and discard then. She then collects them, sorts them into color groups, and uses them in her scrapbooking. She is a social butterfly who lights up whenever an Angel arrives and makes us feel like SHE is the Angel.
Mike Lessard, President of the Resident’s Council at Rock Creek:
“Having had many people tell me about a visit from the Angels for Aging, I can tell by the look on their face and the sound of their voice that it meant something to them. Those cards on a birthday, or gifts on a holiday, say that someone took the time to remember them. Angels? Yes, I think so!”
One of the reasons this program is so beneficial and successful is because it is an ongoing visitation program that establishes relationships and provides continuity. After a few visits, trust and real connections begin to develop. The experience and appreciation of each visit are really a two-way street. It does not matter the length of time of the visit, it is the human kindness and connection that are the essence of the program.
The Angels for Aging Team:
Linda Oddo, Chair, Gwen Tresi, Vice Chair, Paulette Benedict, Cynthia Comiskey, Barbara Henson, Torrey Imrie, PJ Johnson, Sandra Knell, Karen Little, Carol Lynn, Linda Massick, Linda Meylink, Peg Moore, Lyne Mullen, Carol Ostrom, Janet Patten, Rita Rich, Shella Waldman