As a little girl growing up in Hyde Park, Esther Kane loved to draw. She carried colored pencils everywhere she went. Her mother was very proud of her, and her teachers recognized her talent.
“I loved to draw and my mother kept encouraging me to do more of it,” says Esther.
In high school, her art teacher urged her to major in art at college. Esther took her teacher’s advice and enrolled in and graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art, working in various mediums, including oil, pastels, charcoal, and watercolors.
In the decades following her graduation, Esther found herself pulled toward other interests. For years she put her art aside. “I guess I just lost interest,” she said.
“It’s one of the prize accomplishments that I have had, to be able to be attached to young people and to benefit from them and for them to benefit from me.” These are the words of Irving Silverman, a 96-year-old resident of NewBridge on the Charles, discussing his friendship with 16-year-old Mariah MacKenzie through the Adam and Matan Adelson Multigenerational Program at Hebrew SeniorLife.
Today Esther is a published author and poet as well as a scholar of Judaism and Hebrew teacher at Orchard Cove in Canton, MA. Her experiences living in the community have inspired her to become a prolific poet. She participates fully in community spiritual life and is an avid reader of history and biography. Her warmth, vitality and intelligence shine through with other residents.
The biggest applause of this year’s Hebrew SeniorLife EngAGE event came not for the Emmy or Grammy Award winners but for the woman whose YouTube videos went viral and made her a celebrity at age 76. It was only appropriate for an event with the goal of redefining how we think and talk about aging.
For the past two years, registered Dance/Movement Therapist Whitney L. DiGeronimo, MA, R-DMT, has been a member of the Expressive Therapies Department at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. I recently spoke with her about her role and the “Dance for Parkinson’s” class now offered on-site to HRC patients at our Boston and Dedham locations.
Tell us about your professional background and training, and your role at HRC?
On July 2, 2016 we lost Elie Wiesel, world-renowned survivor of Auschwitz, author, and voice of conscience. A week later, I went to Germany with a group of Boston-area rabbis, sponsored by the Boston German Consulate. While I blogged recently about that trip, I continue to process the experience and also to hear the reflections of my fellow travelers.
Earlier this year Hebrew SeniorLife Communities sponsored the “Senior Living Communities of the Future Forum” at NewBridge on the Charles as an opportunity for our residents’ adult children to hear from experts in their fields on the future of senior living communities.
We sought insights to some of their most significant concerns as they relate to aging as well as important questions about their vision of the life they want to lead in later years. Concerns such as:
When Alzheimer’s disease becomes part of a marriage, or a family, caregivers can usually find resources to support the member facing memory loss or to support the family caregiver seeking peer connections and information. Yet, until the last few years, there wasn’t much designed to support the evolving spousal or parent/child relationship itself. All that changed with the advent of the “Memory Café” concept in the Netherlands, a unique model of social programming designed as a welcoming place for caregivers and their loved ones with memory loss to relax together in a stigma-free environment that offers both socialization and support.