Pam Lemke | Feb 13, 2019
Is there anyone out there that has not heard of the Golden Girls or the Old Pharts? On the slight chance that there may be, please let me introduce them. I’ll shorten their names to GG and OP for future reference.
I have had the privilege of forming and coordinating these two groups of outstanding people for the past seven years. One “gentleman” in the community, Cliff Barton, would call me often and ask, “what are we going to do for the men in this community?” and we would talk. The social worker from the clinic called me to inquire about programs for men, so action was taken. The men’s group formed quickly, from that small beginning, great camaraderie and friendships were formed. Just as quickly word spread, and the women in the community wanted a group too, so the GG began.
The GG and OP have been a wonderful asset to our community. With both groups, a meeting date was set, we discussed and outlined a program. I had two criteria; first they must meet in my office monthly, learn about the programs and become ambassadors spreading the word. Secondly, they visit with the residents at Pine Meadow Nursing Home on a monthly basis.
Volunteer they did, and so much more! It is safe to say they are valued programs at PMNH, that the residents always look forward to. The groups organize special events, like high teas, complete with fine china, lace tablecloths and home-made hair fascinators. The OP’s have BBQ’s with “near beer”, play lawn games and shoot the breeze. On beautiful days, they make mock cocktails in the garden area. Picture the drone of blenders, busily making your drink of choice, the fancy plates of sandwiches being served to the residents, everyone chatting, makes for a meaningful afternoon of food, drink and friendship.
As much as the residents enjoy these special events, they report enjoying as much or more the conversations and the sense of community that happen at visits.
I can’t say enough great things about these two groups. I do know that the residents, families, staff at PMNH, and the Alzheimer Society of KFL&A appreciate all of their support and efforts.
Last, but not least, these groups volunteer in other ways as well. For many years they have entered floats for the GG and OP in the Lions Club Santa Claus parade, with both groups winning prizes. Just this past year they helped with two Alzheimer coffee breaks bringing in dollars to this area. Another large part of what they do is support local business and frequent restaurants in the KFL&A area.
Pam Lemke, Education and Family Support “Alzheimer Society KFL&A”