By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Northborough – National Assisted Living Week was celebrated at Whitney Place Assisted Living Residences at Northborough beginning Sunday, Sept. 8, with a Grandparents Day Brunch, one of several activities held through Saturday, Sept. 14. Over 100 guests joined the residents for this year's brunch, which was deemed particularly successful by Trish Pope, the marketing director.
“It was the best brunch we ever had,” she said. “It was set up beautifully. We have a new director of dining services, Jarrod Downing, and he had all sorts of brunch selections including a carving station with beef tenderloin. He had another station with a huge assortment of fabulous desserts and he also made banana fosters with the flames going. It was really fun.”
Family members came for the feast and stayed for a leisurely Sunday afternoon visit with the residents.
“It's really a family event,” Pope said. “I like when the residents get together with their families – their children, their grandchildren, their great-grandchildren. They'se very proud of where they live and it's nice to see that it really is their home. They can have a group of people to a nice brunch, and sit and relax – just like you would at your house or in a restaurant. It was such a lovely day here. People had such a good time that they just stayed and visited. We had a full building for hours.”
Whitney Place at Northborough also invites families for two annual holiday brunches, free of charge. A donation is requested only for the Grandparents Day Brunch with proceeds going to the Alzheimer's Association. Collectively known as “Team SALMON Health and Retirement – Northborough,” staff members from both Whitney Place and Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center will participate in the Worcester County Walk to End Alzheimer's to be held Sunday, Sept. 29, at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester.
All the Assisted Living Week activities were planned by Tracy Hulme, the recreation director, and the staff.
“We do some great things here all the time, but this one week the recreation staff really goes above and beyond,” Pope said.
Live entertainment was presented throughout the week including String Swing, a Cambridge-based jazz trio, making a return appearance at Whitney Place. Also returning was Hudson resident Richard Hughes, who played piano music as silent movies were screened. Concert pianists Adam Bergeron and Bruce Pratt Jr. have performed there before individually; this time they presented Dueling Pianos.
Also featured was a Bingo Bash. At the residents” weekly bingo, winners get items from the in-house store. During Assisted Living Week, the lucky bingo players received prizes that they wouldn's usually have a chance to get, such as gift cards, seasonal decorations, calendars and journals.
The dining room was appropriately transformed one of the evenings for Casino Night, which has become a highlight of this special week. A company was hired to provide gaming tables and a roulette wheel. Staff members attended a class to learn how to deal cards. Beer, wine, punch, appetizers and desserts were served. Residents tried their luck to win gift baskets. At the end of the evening, the staff stayed to put the furniture back in place and clean the room for breakfast the next morning.
“The staff all stayed on their own time because it's so important to the residents,” Pope noted.
This year's National Assisted Living Week theme was “Homemade Happiness.”
“It's a good theme for the week because this is their home,” Pope said. “We'se lucky to get to work where people live. People don's live where we work; we work where people live – and that's two very different things.”