Dear Palm Garden Family,
Is there anything more important we can do than to enrich the lives of those we serve?
There is nothing more important we can do. Just look at that smiling face! I’d like you to meet Mrs. Doris Kincaid, she’s lived as family at Palm Garden of Sun City Center for 13 years.
She turned 105 years old on Sunday, June 11th, but she CELEBRATED her big day last week with her Palm Garden family.
You know my Grandpa Neumann lived to 105 as well. He was born in 1895 but I got to know and spend time with him for 35 years of my life. In fact, I was at his house when President Reagan was shot. The Pope too. It’s funny how we mark historical events by who we were with and what we were doing. Even though many of his kids were still alive, I remember his birthday being sad. When I said “Grandpa, what’s wrong?” He said “your Grandma is gone, I can’t really do what I used to do, and all my friends are gone too. I just don’t know why I am still here.” It was soul crushing to hear such a great man question mortality and meaning. But it was understandable because he was right. Everyone he knew was gone. Just gone.
Now think about Mrs. Kincaid. Pumped up and full of life. Charging into her 105th birthday as if it was her 25th! This is what it means to celebrate the life story. This is what it means to those we serve. And this is what it means to be Palm Garden.
Just think about what Ms. Doris has seen in her time. Born in 1912, before the national electrical grid was set up- she didn’t have dependable electricity. The Model T had only been around for 4 years- and most people couldn’t afford it. This was 2 years before the first commercial airline flight and that was a 5-minute jaunt from St. Petersburg to Tampa. No Korea, no Viet Nam, no Iraq, no Afghanistan, no World Trade Center. Space flight wasn’t even a consideration let alone getting on a plane and two hours later arriving in Chicago. Arizona and New Mexico weren’t even states yet! She has indeed seen more than any of us.
A member of the greatest generation, historians tell us no generation saw more changes and historical events before or after than hers. She has lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. To give you some context, there were no social security numbers issued when Ms. Doris was born. No birth certificates either because most births occurred at home. (Doctors still made house calls back then and births were simply registered in the family bible.) Things have certainly changed.
There she is with her hat- of course she loves animals. (Her picture with our four-legged therapy team member proves that! It also won the FHCA photo contest for the entire state of Florida last year.
But here’s the thing, and here’s the GEM. There’s Albert- your Palm Garden team member. Look at Ms. Doris’s hand. It’s as if she were touching the son she never had. Instead of living her last years as if everyone was gone and questioning why she is still here. There’s Doris with a big smile, celebrating life with a huge cake, friends and family and lots of presents. We want the remaining years of our resident’s lives to be the best- not just the last. We do this by celebrating the life story. This is who we are and this is what we do.
And Ms. Doris’s smile gives you the “why.”
After all, is there anything more important we could do?
We are just so proud of our Palm Garden Family.
Senior Director of Service
And Relationship Development