Westborough – The second and third floors of Whitney Place, an assisted living community on the Salmon Health and Retirement campus in Westborough, serve as a warm and supportive home to approximately 54 elders. On the first Sunday of each month, it is also a lively, music-filled space as well, thanks to a group of caring volunteers from the Congregation B”Nai Shalom.
The congregation, which is located right across the street from the campus, brings programs of music and word games to the elders, and just as importantly, also brings the gift of friendship. That mix, according to Adriana Canavan, a recreation and volunteer coordinator with Salmon, is an important part of helping to fulfill Salmon's goal of instilling a measure of success and self-value in the residents” days.
“Our philosophy is that “everyone sings,”” she said. “And relating to young people is so important. Young energy changes the room.”
The group from B”Nai Shalom is different each month. It might include teachers, professionals and many times, children.
A group of about 20 volunteers visited to celebrate an early St. Patrick's Day March 6. The first event was a word association game where residents were asked to name green items. Next, residents joined the volunteers in singing a number of classic songs from days gone by, including “Amazing Grace,” “If I Had a Hammer,” and “Bingo.”
Janice Hirshon, one of the congregation volunteers, enjoys interacting with the seniors.
“We started doing this last April as part of our Mitzvah Day, which is a community service day,” Hirshon said. “It was so much fun. And we decided because we are right across the street, there was no reason why we shouldn's do this more often.”