As one older adult exited the bus after attending an Older Adults Program activity, she turned to the staff and said, “Thank you very much. I had a wonderful time.”
Marissa Sabio, Older Adults Activities Coordinator, says this may seem like a normal bit of social nicety, quickly forgotten, but she and Linda Hawkins, Older Adults Program Director, were both pleased and stunned. “Adele* entered our program about two years ago, so beaten down, nervous and distrustful after coming out of chaotic, dysfunctional living arrangements that she felt almost voiceless,” says Marissa. “The first few times on the bus, she wouldn’t speak, merely handing us a piece of paper on which she’d written down stores along our grocery route where she wanted to shop.” She often sat by herself at luncheons and would wander off alone on local field trips.
Now, as she’s opening up to others around her, people know her by name, speak fondly of her and note her kindness to others. “She signs up for most of our activities and events and other people know to look for her and join her,” says Marissa. “The Older Adults Program celebrates this milestone, as we see a once silent, isolated person become integrated into a loving, supportive community.”