A bid at Windemere's auction buys residents fun
Songs by a folksinger, a luncheon outing, planting flowers in a beautiful garden, visits with baby animals - activities such as these put some fun and sparkle into the lives of the 75 residents at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. To raise money to fund its activity program, Windemere is hosting an auction on Friday, June 20, 6-8 pm, at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury.
"Recreation director Betsy Burmeister and her volunteer team have done a great job in coming up with interesting items donated from the community, and we're offering them up in an auction to fund extra activities," said Windemere administrator Ken Chisholm. "These are the things that aren't funded by reimbursements, so we're looking to the community to help us. Every dollar will go to activities for Island residents that are in the nursing home."
Located on the Martha's Vineyard Hospital campus, Windemere is a full-service professional healthcare center offering long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, and an Alzheimer's/special needs wing. Activities for the residents are offered seven days a week.
On June 20, auctioneer Clarence "Trip" Barnes, a familiar Island personality and trucker, will do his best to cajole the highest bids during a live auction. There also will be a silent auction. The items for both auctions range from sailing and kayaking trips, a day of bass fishing, and a plane ride over the Vineyard, to gift certificates from a variety of Island shops and restaurants, several works by Iocal artists, and antique glassware.
For pampering, pet owners may want to bid on massages for their dogs and tanning sessions for themselves. Artistic and literary types can vie for an autographed copy of Island artist Ray Ellis's new book, "By the Light of the Moon," or for the chance to be named as a character in Vineyard mystery writer Cynthia Riggs's next novel. Those interested in fitness and sports can bid on a private tennis lesson with an Island tennis pro, a personal trainer session, or an autographed photo of Red Sox player Jonathan Papelbon. These are just a sampling of auction items, which are still coming in this week.
Wine will be served at the event, along with desserts made by Frank Leonardo, "one of the Island's best pastry chefs," according to Ms. Burmeister.
"We're also going to have a tree with tickets on it listing items we need at Windemere," she said. The wish list includes everything from furniture for the residents' rooms and parlors to a laptop computer and Power Point projector.
"If people don't see anything they want to bid on, they can opt to buy or donate towards something on the wish list," Ms. Burmeister added. "Or, if they can't come to the auction and want to contribute, they can make a donation to the recreation therapy department."
Windemere leases a van from the Vineyard Transit Authority to take residents on outings around the Island, including monthly luncheons at the regional high school, dinner once a year at the Home Port in Menemsha, and music programs.
"Transportation, outings, and entertainers all cost money," said Ms. Burmeister, who has worked as Windemere's recreation director for 13 years. "We do have many volunteer performers, but a lot of performers charge a fee because they make their living from it."
Some upcoming activities include a barbeque for residents and their families on June 26 at Windemere, with music by Vineyard Sound. Later this summer, the "Sound Waves," a women's a cappella group from Harwich, will perform.
Windemere's activity program is augmented by many volunteers, as well - and Ms. Burmeister said she would welcome more.
"We have a buddy program in the summer - you get a free meal from the cafeteria if you take a resident to lunch," she said. Volunteers to help with meals and to transport residents to activities in the building would also be appreciated.
"We're trying to stretch our dollars to involve as much of the community in Windemere as we can," Mr. Chisholm said. "We're looking for the community to help us, and it goes right back into the community. We touch a lot of Island families through parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren. We've probably served 1,200 to 1,300 residents of the Island since Windemere opened in 1994."
Other activities include intergenerational programs that bring the residents together with children. Youngsters in the daycare program next door at Martha's Vineyard Hospital come over to visit. Chilmark School students are paired up with residents in a foster grandparent program and given cameras to photograph them. At the end of the year, Ms. Burmeister said their photos are displayed in a show at Featherstone Center for the Arts. The activities fund pays for disposable cameras and some inexpensive frames.
In a new program started recently, some Islanders have volunteered to bring animals such as lambs, miniature horses, and alpacas for outdoor visits with Windemere residents. Other outdoor activities include gardening. Maureen Gazaille, owner of Moses in the Bulrushes landscaping, donates her time in maintaining Windemere's two gardens. She also engaged some residents in planting flowers that were donated in window boxes that brighten the view outside the dining room window.
One of Windemere's gardens recently was built with donations from the community and a $22,000 grant from the state procured by former Alzheimer's program director Jen Adams Hurd. The new garden provides a fenced-in area with flowers and a looped path where Alzheimer's patients may walk safely.
Reflecting on Windemere's activity program, Mr. Chisholm said, "Those are the things we think make a lot of difference in people's lives and we want to make the quality of life for our Island residents in the nursing home as positive and fun as it can be."
Anyone who would like to donate auction items before June 20 or volunteer at Windemere can contact Ms. Burmeister at 508-696-6465, ext. 722.