Sparking senior creativity

Symphony Manor of Feasterville observes National Assisted Living Week

Celebrating seniors: Pictured are (from left) Lower Southampton Township supervisors Ray Weldie and Deborah Kaplan, Frank Curran, a representative from the office of Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, and Symphony Manor activity director Joshua Mason. Samantha Bambino / Times Photo

The schedules of the seniors residing at Symphony Manor of Feasterville, 1730 Buck Road, were jam-packed last week. From bowling trips and concerts to rubbing elbows with elected officials, there was hardly a moment to spare.

But that was perfectly OK with them.

For the first time, Symphony Manor observed National Assisted Living Week, which was established in 1995 by the National Center for Assisted Living. The purpose of the week-long celebration, which this year took place from Sept. 8-14 and boasted the theme “A Spark of Creativity,” is to recognize the role of assisted living in caring for America’s seniors, educate the public about this level of care, and, most importantly, to spotlight those seniors as vital members of society.

“It’s highlighting residents, things that they’ve done for our community,” said Joshua Mason, Symphony Manor’s activity director. “They’re not just seniors thrown into a nursing home. There’s a difference between a nursing home and assisted living facility.”

The festivities commenced in Feasterville on Sept. 9 with an Assisted Living Week proclamation signing by Lower Southampton Township supervisors Ray Weldie and Deborah Kaplan. At 3:30 p.m., Weldie, whose grandfather was a resident of Symphony Manor in 1995, read the brief statement to attendees.

Sparking creativity: National Assisted Living Week festivities commenced in Feasterville on Sept. 9 with a proclamation signing by Lower Southampton Township supervisors Ray Weldie and Deborah Kaplan. Samantha Bambino / Times Photo

The proclamation said, in part: “Whereas residents of assisted living communities are active members of the large community, offering their knowledge, life experiences and involvement, their past contributions continue to be a vital part of Feasterville’s rich history. Whereas assisted living is a critical long-term care option for older adults and individuals with disabilities that fosters choice, dignity and independence. Assisted living communities are committed to excellence, innovation and the advancement of person-centered care.”

After signing the document, Weldie and Kaplan said a few words.

“We’re really proud of this facility. It has come a long way over the years, and I think you’re lucky to have such a facility so close to home,” Weldie said, telling residents to reach out to him if they ever need anything.

“I’m so happy you have a week,” added Kaplan, whose offer to have her church choir perform Christmas carols at Symphony Manor during the holidays was met with much excitement.

After, residents were invited to enjoy food, drinks and live entertainment. Activities throughout the rest of National Assisted Living Week, which family members and volunteers were invited to attend, included a Senior Safari with live animals on Sept. 10, karaoke, Tai Chi, cooking, a trip to the Garden of Reflection 9/11 memorial in Lower Makefield Township and more.

Ultimately, the purpose of “A Spark of Creativity” was to inspire residents to explore their creative side, whether through the arts or beyond.

“It’s a chance to shine for the residents and do activities around them, the kind of music they like,” said Mason, adding how the songs of Engelbert Humperdinck, a Symphony Manor favorite, was incorporated into the entertainment. “And a lot of the residents are familiar with the political world. The city council coming in, or the board of supervisors, they like that kind of stuff. It kind of takes their attention and their mind off some of their disabilities that we see, and that’s why they’re here. It’s a week full of fun.”

While Mason plans outings and events for residents on a regular basis, he doesn’t normally “blast” them with activities every day.

“But this week is bang, bang, bang. It keeps them nice and busy,” he said. “It’s a week designed around the residents. That’s what it’s all about.” ••

For more information on Symphony Manor of Feasterville, call 215-809-3712 or visit smfeasterville.com.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com