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Think About Getting Your Book Club (Or Other Group) To Visit A Reston Senior Community

A Reston-based book club shows how easy and fulfilling it can be to engage residents of a senior living community and truly make them part of the neighborhood.

One of my friends, Rosemary Daum, is a member in a rather large book club that has made a commitment to do something charitable each year and tie it into a book they are reading.  After experiencing an eldercare challenge first hand, another member of the club, Antonella Manganelli, suggested that they do something for the residents of the Rose Memory Center at . Although this was vastly different from the other service projects they had performed, they were all moved by the experience. Staff members commented at how engaged the residents were and they are planning to return in the near future.

Imagine if every club in Reston made the commitment to do something like this just ONCE A YEAR?  Add in the informal groups of friends or neighbors that meet periodically and we could make the seven senior living communities in Reston a more active and vibrant part of our community. 

At nearly every Reston for a Lifetime meeting there is someone who shares that they hope they never have to leave their home to move to assisted living or a nursing home.  

At a meeting last year a person talked about how sad it was that she was the only person visiting her neighbor in the nursing home right down the street.  We collectively came to the conclusion that as a community we could do a better job of viewing these communities as “homes in the neighborhood” and not “facilities and institutions”.  In addition, we all recognized that the wisdom and living history of the residents in these homes is something that needs to be shared and not hidden away.

The Senior Housing Engagement Project was born out of that conversation.  Our goal is to intentionally get the community more integrated with the seven communities in Reston.  This goes beyond just making a friendly visit once a year.  We hope that during these visits we can begin to document some of the information about the residents, their travels, hobbies, interests and dreams.  Armed with this information we hope to assist as a guide in making connections to the vast amount of resources that Reston has to offer.

We hope to work closely with groups like my friend’s book club and offer them support for going beyond the scope of the club’s focus.  In addition we hope to provide them with tools to help us better engage the residents with others in the community after their visit. Wouldn't you feel better having a loved one move to one of these communities knowing that people like Rosemary, Antonella and their friends were regularly involved and helping you stay more connected to the Reston community?

If you are interested in getting involved in this project or if you have any questions, comments or ideas please feel free to email aginginreston@gmail.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Friends of the Reston Regional Library October 29, 2011 at 09:12 PM
It would also be nice if neighbors weren't too busy to visit the seniors still in their homes.
Steve Gurney October 31, 2011 at 11:49 AM
Thanks Kelley! Getting neighborhoods more engaged is a primary focus of our neighborhood network working group at Reston for a Lifetime. We hope it goes both ways with neighbors helping elders and elders helping with tutoring and other purposeful actions.

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