“Waterboys” Keeps Friendships Flowing
VI AT BENTLEY VILLAGE IN NORTH NAPLES PROVIDES a quintessential vignette of the term “family friendly.’’ Resident Mike Stanton, 90, is a dedicated helper all over campus and the longest-tenured member of the “Waterboys.” They are a team of volunteers, under the supervision of a professional staff, who don baseball caps and name tags to deliver pitchers of ice and water daily to patients at the skilled care center that is part of the campus.
Their clients are glad to see them, Stanton says, and often don’t want the Waterboys to leave. Stanton, a World War II and Korea military pilot, says the experience—he has been doing it for 11 years—is especially appreciated by patients who have no local family members. The Waterboys provide a welcome contact with someone other than staff members. The Waterboys become like family.
That resonates on another level for Stanton, whose wife, Ann, 82, is a resident of the skilled care center. “It’s always a special moment—a real treat—to be together,’’ he says of visits to Ann’s room.
The Stanton family connection goes one step further, when daughter Sarah Andre, of nearby Bonita Bay, comes to Bentley Village for weekly social hours, for example. “I visit Mom each Friday—unless they’re on lockdown for the flu, like the last couple of weeks,” she says.
“It’s become the highlight of my week, not just seeing Mom but chatting with the other residents and guests. They’ve all become like an extended family to us, and the routine of a Friday afternoon visit centers me somehow.’’
There is live music, singing and dancing. “It’s zany and high energy and focused on living and laughter,’’ Andre adds. “I was a speech pathologist who worked in nursing homes for 10 years in my youth. I have never been to a care center that is this much fun and focused on positive patient interaction.
“We’ve even had residents from assisted living regularly come to the care center cocktail hour because ours is so much more fun.’’
A get-together taking place at The Terraces in Bonita Mike Stanton, 90, has been volunteering with the “Waterboys” at Vi at Bentley Village in North Naples for 11 years. Seated by him are his daughter, Sarah Andre, and his wife, Ann.