The Get-A-Long Gang Is At It Again!
By Alice Coghill
Sometimes the best ideas are the ones that come from the heart. Such is the case with the Get-Along Gang, five United Methodist Communities at Pitman associates who share their love for the Tapestries residents they serve by hosting themed monthly events.
Two years ago, Life Enrichment Team Specialist (LETS), Eileen Lindmeier, thought they might like a party to celebrate Halloween. Without a second thought, she decided to bring in treats to share with them one Saturday afternoon.
When her co-workers saw the residents’ response to this simple gesture — they quickly offered to help. Some have come and gone, but the group now consists of housekeepers, Cindy Kern and Phyllis Murphy, along with LETS, Maria Garcia and Debbie Guida.
“They are amazing,” said Director of Memory Support Services, Denise Fasano. “I asked them what they call themselves and they did not have a name. Because they jelled together so well, I dubbed them the Get-Along Gang and the name stuck.”
Denise comments, “When I found out they were buying all the food and drinks with their own money, I tried to reimburse them, but they refused.”
The members select party themes, which corresponds to each month. For example, Christmas in December; Saint Patrick’s Day in March; Red, White and Blue in July; etc. In September they chose to celebrate back-to-school with a tribute to bag lunches.
“Of all the parties we hosted, this was the most rewarding. From opening up the bags, hearing the crinkle of the paper, checking out the contents and sharing childhood memories — it was so enjoyable. The stories about attending one-room schoolhouses, using the outhouses or their favorite teachers, were priceless,” reflects Eileen.
“We placed personalized love notes in the bags, signed ‘Your loving daughters, Cindy, Phyllis, Marie, Eileen and Debbie.’ It was so touching to see the smiles on their face as they read them. Some don’t have children, so for one magic afternoon we were their daughters,” adds Cindy.
When the weather cooperates, the Get-Along Gang takes to the courtyard for a barbeque or picnic. They plan every detail in advance, including simple games or activities guaranteed to generate lots of laughs.
“What amazes me is that these ladies put so much thought and planning into these parties. They are incredibly generous and simply want to show their love in a warm, personal and fun way,” concludes Denise.
Alice M. Coghill is Sales Counselor at United Methodist Communities at Pitman.