Sydney Kalich

‘A Heart to Serve' Gives Senior Citizens New Purpose

A nursing home in Lawndale is doing more than just providing care to its residents--it is providing them with a newfound purpose.

"You know a lot of times it's hard in nursing homes, even if you are getting wonderful care," said Matthew Lsobey, Rockport Healthcare Services Chief Community Integration Officer. "If no one needs you anymore then what's the reason?"

Rockport Health Services says it has restored purpose in it's elderly residents' lives through a program they started called "A Heart to Serve."

The program allows elderly residents at nursing homes like Lawndale Health and Wellness, to give back to the community. One activity they participate in is making healthy after-school snacks for at-risk kids who live down the road.

Even though the residents are dealing with challenges like dementia, stroke and Parkinson's, their time with "A Heart to Serve" takes it all away.

"All of my hurt, my aches, my pains, everything just goes away," said Donald, a resident of the Lawndale nursing home. "I'm thinking, 'oh he or she's going to love this!'"

Not only are the elders loving the program, but so are the younger ones.

"When it first got started and they came in, the energy of these adults was so superior and the way it was embraced by the kids was great, so it was a win-win," said Roger Vanremmen, CEO of Ridgestone Family Center. "I knew it was real effective when three days later, the kids were saying 'When are they coming back? When are they coming back?'"

The reward for this labor of love is priceless.

"I love my kids," said Mrs. Akers, a resident of Lawndale. "These kids are my hobby."

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