The Place They Call Home:
Enriching Experiences at Aging Services Communities
LeadingAge members are not-for-profit providers of care and services for seniors. Residents of these aging services organizations are involved in a wide range of life- enriching experiences that add meaning and fulfillment to their lives as they age. Sometimes they are reviving or continuing activities from their younger years.
A Gem of a Story
The sparkle and color of beautiful crystals found in various minerals captured Don Peck’s heart more than 60 years ago. To this day, it’s a hobby he passionately pursues.
“It’s fun and it keeps me active,” says Mr. Peck, 84, who with his wife Lorraine now resides at Greenfields of Geneva.
Mr. Peck, a retired high school science teacher, discovered his life-long hobby of mineralogy when he was a teenager after going on a mineral hunt at inoperative garnet and iron mines. “I’ve still got some of the garnets I
found that day,” says Mr. Peck, who adds that the garnets mined were typically used for industrial purposes.
After taking his first teaching job, Mr. Peck joined a mineral club where his interest in microminerals took off. Micro-minerals require the use of a microscope to view the crystal formations. He began collecting micro-minerals, and his influence on the world of mineralogy began to take shape. Passionate about identifying and classifying micro-minerals and their crystal structures, Mr. Peck created MinSearch, a database and search engine for mineral properties. Originally written in the 1980s, it has been updated three times and is available for mineralogists to catalogue their research and also help identify unknown specimens. Additionally, he wrote the book, Mineral Identification: A Practical Guide for the Amateur Mineralogist.
Mr. Peck is often found sharing his passion with others. Last August, he gave a talk on minerals and mineral collecting to other residents of Greenfields of Geneva. He still has a large collection of micro-minerals, each stored in a one-inch- square case. “I have enough raw materials to keep me going for years,” he says with a smile.
—Bridget Machalinski, Ivy Marketing Group, Greenfields of Geneva, Geneva, Illinois
Striking a Tune
During the Great Depression, music acted as a morale booster for families and communities alike. A musician in Altoona, Pennsylvania began giving harmonica lessons every Saturday to local residents. Mary Beth Flickinger become a weekly attendee and fell in
love with the harmonica. Her lessons paid off— she and her siblings were featured on the local radio station. Later on, Ms. Flickinger put down her harmonica to learn other instruments.
Flash forward to 2015: Ms. Flickinger, 92, is living at Baptist Homes. She has returned to her harmonica and is playing better than ever. A few years ago, she also learned how to read sheet music. Not only has her talent expanded, but so has her audience. Ms. Flickinger takes center stage during the Baptist Homes Society’s Christmas performances, plays for fun with other residents, and has been featured in a few publications. A few years ago, she won the Pennsylvania Activity Professional Association’s Creative Arts Award for her harmonica playing. (The award is given annually to only one resident in Pennsylvania.)
Ms. Flickinger is an inspiration to all of those who hear her play, including fellow harmonica player Thomas Sullivan, who joined her on his first day at Baptist Homes. During her performances, toes tap, spirits soar and Ms. Flickinger is transported to being a young girl again.
—Andrea Bobinis, Public Relations intern, Baptist Homes Society, Pittsburgh, Pennsyvania ■