Page 2 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - January 2018 - 25-01
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Page 2 Senior Times - January 2018
EVERYBODY HAS A STORY By: Tim Mitchell, Grant Coordinator, CentraCare
Genealogy has become big business. There are now multiple companies competing for the business of individuals who are curious about their ancestry.
It appears older adults who are retired and have time on their hands are a good part of the reason genealogy is the second most popular hobby in the U.S., second only to gardening.
While it is fascinating to follow a line
of descent traced continuously from an ancestor, it is even more remarkable to hear the stories about those individuals handed down from generation to generation.
Back in 1998, and for several years following, CBS news correspondent,
Steve Hartman, would have someone throw a dart at a map and then go to
that city with the expressed purpose of finding someone with a story. Upon arrival at the particular town chosen by the dart, he would open a phone book and call the person on whose name his finger landed when he opened the white pages. He then created a human interest segment out of his conversation with someone at that address.
It made for great storytelling. Of course, Steve Hartman has a knack for that.
It didn't matter who they were or what they had to say. No one was eliminated
for any reason and every story got on
the air. The result was unique and wildly unpredictable television. After six years
of traveling the country, Steve had profiled nearly 100 people from Maine to Miami and from the Oregon coast to the Arizona desert. His youngest subject was a 5-year- old boy from Tennessee who liked to float balloons to his grandma in heaven. His oldest was an 87-year-old woman from Louisiana who still does her son's laundry.
Hartman said years later, "I never dreamed you could actually find good stories like that. Turns out I couldn't have been more wrong.
I now believe the white pages are chock full of amazing, untold stories."
Those stories are all around us. We don’t have to travel the country or the world to find them. One of the things I appreciate most at CentraCare is the ability to talk with individuals who are living history books and some of their stories are quite impressive. All of us have a history. Granted, some have more exciting histories than others, but nonetheless, each of us
has a story to tell.
Stories are what connect us to each other.
They make a person real. At CentraCare
we find an unlikely mixture of past histories blending together among our participants. Life stories are shared regularly as people socialize and mingle throughout the day. They have all come from somewhere, and in many cases from vastly different back- grounds, but their futures are very similar. That’s the way it is with the aging process.
While we listen with great interest to the tales of the past, our purpose is to
focus on the present and future of those we serve at CentraCare. Helping participants improve their quality of life today and
in the months and years to come is our mission and passion.
Recently the employees of CentraCare made a decision to do more than care for our participants on a daily basis. They made a commitment over and above their work role - a financial commitment - to be a part of fulfilling a dream for the participants. Every payday many of the 145 employees have a certain amount of money voluntarily payroll deducted to go into a special “Fulfill a Dream” fund for participants
who have always dreamed of doing something but were unable to accomplish
it for some reason. It’s like a “Bucket List” meets “Make a Wish.”
After a few short months of giving, there have been two participant “dreams” fulfilled, with more to come in the near future. One participant, an avid baseball fan, got to attend a Detroit Tigers baseball game, meet Miguel Cabrera and other players, see her name in lights on the big scoreboard, and, maybe more importantly, have an outing with her children for the first time in nearly 40 years. It’s a story they will tell for years, possibly for generations, to come.
There is no greater privilege than
to become part of the life story of our participants. Whether it be through caring for them daily, or something as simple as listening to their story, or fulfilling a dream for them, our lives become intertwined. In some twist of fate, they become like family and their story becomes part of our story. We may not be connected in a genealogical tree, but we are tied together in spirit, which is even better.
For dates, times, and to register, please contact Donna at (269) 441-9319
Caregivers, Are You Tired?
CentraCare’s experienced staff will lovingly care for your elderly loved one at our Battle Creek Day Center location to give you relief. At NO CHARGE* to you! WE PROVIDE: Transportation, Nutritious Meal & Snack, Socialization, Assistance with Personal Care, and Cognitively Stimulating Activities.
200 W. Michigan Avenue | Battle Creek, MI 49017 | 269-441-9300 | *Funds for this program are made available through a grant from the Calhoun County Senior Millage and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation

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