Celebrating the Spirit of Giving
On a hot summer day, Rosalie Landen worked over steaming pots filled with 40 pounds of hand-peeled potatoes. Looking back on it now, Mrs. Landen isn’t quite sure how she and her neighbors at Carillon of Durham found the energy to make a picnic lunch for 125 children and staff at the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford. What she does remember is the look of sheer joy on the children’s faces when the meal was delivered.
“We older people miss that feeling of being needed,” says Landen. “In my experience, I have found that the need to be needed doesn’t go away when we age, but our opportunities do.”
I couldn’t agree with Mrs. Landen more. Today’s seniors have put to rest that old cliché of retirement as a time to do nothing more than age gracefully. As our ideas about aging have evolved, so too has our understanding of what successful aging really means. And as Mrs. Rosalie Landen so eloquently put it, growing older successfully is really about having the opportunity to live a life of our own making, one that is not hampered by our physical limitations or others’ misguided notions about what we should, or shouldn’t, be doing.
It is so very inspiring, the many ways that Carillon residents find to give of their time and special talents. Whether through reading to local schoolchildren, knitting caps for premature newborns at local hospitals, donating handmade items to homeless and domestic violence shelters, or simply spending time with Alzheimer’s and hospice patients, Carillon residents teach us that vitality is as much a state of mind as a physical state of being.
For Rosalie Landen and the “Red Hat” ladies of Carillon Assisted Living of Durham, the little gift baskets and meals they make and deliver to the children at the Oxford orphanage are as much about bridging familial and intergenerational gaps for the children as they are about checking items off a wish list. For Ida Mark and her neighbors at Carillon Assisted Living of Fayetteville, distributing bandanas printed with Psalm 91 for Fort Bragg soldiers stationed overseas are as much about soothing the soul as protecting the eyes. For Jean Auten at Carillon Assisted Living of Newton, delivering Meals on Wheels to local seniors in need is as much about staving off isolation as it is about warding off hunger.
“I would do it every single day if the soldiers needed me to,” says Ida Mark. “It makes me feel that good.”
It is good to know that the spirit of giving is alive and well at Carillon, that it shines all year long, and that it is unfazed by the passage of time. For Ida and Jean and Rosalie, and for every senior who calls Carillon Assisted Living home, we’ll do our part to keep the spirit of giving alive by keeping the door to a rich and rewarding life wide open.
–Karen E. Moriarty, President and CEO
on December 15, 2014