Changing the Way Seniors Live

Doris Bihn was only one credit short of graduating high school when she left to support her family in 1956.  Going back and earning her diploma was always one of her aspirations.  Recently, Western Reserve Masonic Community (WRMC) made that dream a reality. With the help of the administration from Buckeye High School, the WRMC Life Enrichment department planned a surprise graduation for Doris, including cap and gown.  Doris’ sisters, as well as many residents and employees, attended the ceremony, which left tears in Doris’ eyes. This example is just one of the ways aspired living at WRMC is changing the way people view their retirement years. At WRMC, the aspired living mindset means pursuing your dreams—great or small—every day.  This can be as simple as a memory care resident choosing an outfit for the day, or as involved as bringing the talents of your family to the campus, as in the case of WRMC resident Neal Beck. Neal Beck’s daughter, Janet Lutkus, is a hot air balloonist.  She has been flying since 1992 and received her commercial license in October 1997.  Neal aspired to bring Janet and her balloon to the WRMC campus to provide tethered rides. Several residents turned out for the event, which was held during the week celebrating assisted living, which is for those residents who may need a little extra help to get through the day.  Janet arrived with her beautiful, colorful hot air balloon and the rides began! Still more residents recently experienced their own aspired moment in the form of Uncle David’s Traveling Farm.  The farm visited WRMC from Brunswick Hills, Ohio, near Cleveland, bringing sheep, goats, a calf, rabbits, and many geese, ducks, turkeys, and roosters, giving residents with limited mobility the opportunity to interact with animals. The residents all gathered around petting them and reminiscing about their pasts,“This reminds me of growing up,” said resident Arrie Madden.  “I used to milk the cows.” The residents were tickled and had a great time sharing stories as the animals enjoyed the company and being petted. It is these types of changes in asking residents how they want to live and to what they aspire that allow WRMC to pursue an aspired living approach for life during retirement.  No aspiration is too small, when the resulting enjoyment is priceless.

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