Posted on January 6, 2018 by AL Greater-Placer Nugget
Julie and Santa ‘Barbara’ Written by Julie Sage
During November and December, marketing solicitations filled my mailbox. On TV, the radio, in the newspaper, and on street corners, I was inundated with pleas for monetary and material contributions. All were organizations and vendors who shared a genuine compassion for helping others. Holiday slogans were designed to touch individual hearts and wallets: “Give and Receive”, “Make a Difference”, “The Joy of Gifting”. And amidst the time of good cheer, I gave!
Besides pocketbook donations, I see how the gifts of time, and small everyday acts of kindness, bring joy into the lives of others. A highlight of my holiday season was witnessing the fellowship between Assistance League of Greater Placer members and the 52 residents of Rock Creek Care Center in Auburn. I am thankful to be a member of Assistance League of Greater Placer.
Just take a look at the cheerful smiles on everyone’s faces!
Our seventeen Angels for Aging committee members, wearing blinking lightbulb necklaces, hosted a Christmas party. The Center’s activity room was filled with 26 residents enjoying live music, hot cider, spiked eggnog, cheesecakes and cookies (all pre-approved by Care Center staff). Our member Jan, brought her lovable dog for petting “meet and greets”. Holiday songs were sung by all in attendance, and then the Angels caroled through the halls to entertain those unable to leave their rooms.
These caring and cheerful Angels make a difference in the lives of Rock Creek Care Center residents YEAR ROUND, targeting residents that have no family.
Vice Chairman, Linda Oddo, explains,
“In 2017, seventeen Angels visited 52 care home residents for a total of 1140 hours to celebrate birthdays and holidays and encourage them to participate in various activities such as art projects. The Angels try to get them out of their beds to keep them busy and active and engaged with others.”
Chairman, Lyne Mullen, believes strongly in the veracity of this program and shares two heartfelt stories.
“One of our most beloved residents was given a terminal diagnosis. All she wanted was to attend a final family reunion In Southern California—but had only marginal clothes at best at the facility. One of our Angels completely outfitted her with purchases from our Assistance League of Greater Placer Thrift Shop in Auburn. This wonderful lady went to the reunion, and we remember how grand she looked. Wonderful memories for her and her family.”
“And sometimes you have to think outside the box. A very young man, terminally ill, came under our care. When asked what he wanted for his (perhaps last) birthday, he was cynical, and challenged us to come up with steak and lobster. He thought we could not deliver. Along came a dinner from Sizzler of steak and shrimp—pretty close to right. He just giggled and commented on what wonderful people we Angels were; and he loved the smell of the roses we provided.”
One of our Angels, Sandra, brings flowers once a month and discusses “flower facts” with 14 of the residents and then leaves them in their rooms to enjoy.
I learned that married couples are able to live together in one room. I read this on the Patient’s Rights poster on the wall in the Rock Creek Care Center activity room.
Another brand new member to the Angels for Aging committee, Sue, reminisced with me that back in 1965 she was a 19 year-old student nurse (attending Sacramento City College) and living in Auburn. She worked at the Rock Creek Care Center and says, “I learned to love the residents, and even had to take care of my high school friends’ grandparents. It was hard, but rewarding and I had an ‘in’ with them because I could tell them if they mis-behaved, I knew where they lived.”
Assistance League of Greater Placer’s Angels for Aging philanthropic program brings comfort to those in need with the gift of time, friendship, the touch of a hand and caring hearts. The Angels installed a wind chime as the center of a meditative area at the Rock Creek Care Center in memory of those who have come and gone. Chairman Lyne reflects, “We have a place to go for saying goodbye to a recently departed resident and a place to go for contemplation about future losses.”
And you can be sure-Assistance League Angels for Aging volunteers are always active-spreading Year Round Cheer!