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Peter B. Lewis Aquatic & Therapy Center
Meet Pinky, Bonnie and Neal
Have you ever met someone that seemed ageless, exuberant, and focused on living a full life, regardless of any obstacles they have encountered? We have!
We interviewed a few people who each have taken different journeys to where they are now, but whose attitudes, habits and outlook are commendable and inspiring. Each of us age differently, and our health journeys are as individual as we are. Some of us are physically fit and active, while others may have health issues that inhibit a more active lifestyle, but they adjust and make each day count in every way. Whatever your case may be, it’s important to fully explore and incorporate your best plan for a life of good health and well-being. We must understand our limits and our potentials, and adjust our journeys through the various realms of wellness to gain all that we need for a good life.
The More You Give, the More You Live: Meet Pinky
For some, getting older can make us feel sicklier, sad, tired and even hesitant to live the life we desire; life can be hard especially when our bodies defy us. But there are people who seek and find ways to rise above their own challenges to change their world and those around them, one person at a time. This is proven in the exuberance you may experience along with the warmth and joy in 77 year old Pinky’s voice. You’ll find the petite, energetic Pinky at Pearl’s Place, a lovely guest, resident and staff diner on Campus. She’s volunteered there since 2007. She explored Menorah Park when her gentle, sweet mother lived at the R.H. Myers Apartments in her final years, having moved from Florida to be closer to Pinky. Pinky visited her mom every day until she passed away in 2006. It was painfully bittersweet revisiting campus after that, but eventually, Pinky returned as a volunteer in 2007 and is still heavily involved. She gives of her time at Helen’s Place on campus, and sings for residents as a member of Entertainmobile, and volunteers at Menorah Park’s Market in the Park Gift shop for the Men’s and Women’s Association. She also gives of her time to the National Council of Jewish Women, and at other places throughout the area.
And when she isn’t volunteering, she’s spreading her contagious laugh and sharing her lovely company with friends. She plays Maj on Mondays, Canasta on Fridays, goes to shows on other days, and meets friends and family on the weekends. “That’s my life,” she says. “When not spending time with friends and family, I’d rather be volunteering. It makes me happy. I feel untouchable, youthful, and, I feel fulfilled. Every minute of every day. It’s nice to be appreciated.”
Pinky has been married to her high school sweetheart for 55 years. They have two daughters, a son, and eight grandkids that are very supportive and love her very much.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years ago, and spent much time in radiation treatments, where she met five women who are still in her life. “We’ve been meeting for lunch every month for 15 years,” according to Pinky. “It’s a sisterhood. I listen to them kvetch, and everybody our age has aches and pains, but we enjoy each other’s company.”
Pinky walks every morning with her walking group of friends, ranging from two to eight people, depending on the weather. “We walk the mall, and then we have coffee and share plans, contacts, and helpful information about life.”
“When you meet older people who are just miserable, you want to ask them, ‘Why are you so unhappy? What can I do to make you happy?’” And while she asks in all sincerity, she likely already has the answers to happiness.
Pinky says find something to do—give of your time to make yourself happy, so you can help others be happy. Remember you are never too old, you can still volunteer, even in your ‘90’s. There are so many ways to give of yourself, regardless of your physical restrictions. “You have to want to be involved. So many people need you, and it will make you feel better. It even gives you energy!” And that is what keeps Pinky’s motor revving high as she smiles brightly and gives selflessly of herself in every mile of her own health and wellness journey.
Love, Understanding, Partnership Bring New Stops on the Journey: Meet Bonnie and Neal Dick
Even after 50 years of marriage, there are knowing glances and loving squeezes that give away true love, and watching Bonnie and her husband Neal, you immediately see this beautiful life-bond they have with each another. When they took their vows of ‘for better or for worse’ spoken in youth, there may have been little thought of the decades of life changes before them. They started and family and their family grew with one child, a grandchild, and a great grandchild. Each stayed busy with careers, raising their family, and spending time together creating special memories with dance, song and art. When life went full-circle and the two entered the next stage of life, spending more time together, Neal noticed subtle changes in Bonnie.
But aging affects each of our bodies, our eyes, and our brains in different ways. So when they were told Bonnie would begin to experience memory issues, Neal sought guidance and support to keep their lives as close to normal as possible. “Bonnie is the ultimate social butterfly,” says Neal. He didn’t want Bonnie to go through her days while he was at work without stimulation, excitement, and lots of people to talk to. After extensive research, he said everything lead him to Menorah Park’s Mandel Adult Day Center, and together, they found exactly what Bonnie needed. “I liked the people there. They were delightful,” Neal said.
“I’m 80,” says Bonnie. “But I feel like I’m 26! Even though I have some memory issues, Neal pushes me to go on with doing the things I love. I love to sing. I was a jazz vocalist. Music is something you don’t forget!” Bonnie also loves dance, theater, good movies, and anything related to the arts. Bonnie still works as an independent employment consultant as well, does some volunteer work, and they both still love to travel.
Memory issues can be ‘scary and depressing,’ according to Bonnie. “I was depressed and sad at first, but I decided I am never going to lose myself. I have a lot of energy. I can’t just sit at home, that would be devastating to me.” Neal said finding a safe environment and knowing Bonnie would be able to enjoy her day and still feel independent was the first thing that brought him to the Center. There, he learned, she would take part in the arts, creating and painting, having lunch with others, going to the Piazza to enjoy live music, and building new lasting friendships. “The smartest thing I did was getting long-term care insurance which helps pay for her to come to the Center,” Neal noted. Bonnie embraces her visits with a song in her heart and a smile on her face, and she’s quick with a warm hug. Now the Center is a regular and fulfilling stop in their health and wellness journeys, and Bonnie feels right at home.
Where will your journey take you? You’re the driver, you decide!
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Peace of mind for your loved one
With over 40 years of experience, the Mandel Adult Day Care Center is the perfect place for your loved one.
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