At Windemere, the main ingredient is family
By any measure, Windemere's annual spring family dinner and evening of the arts held last Thursday at the Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was a great success.
Residents of the Martha's Vineyard nursing home and assisted living facility, their family and friends, Windemere staff and volunteers enjoyed a buffet dinner, conversation, musical entertainment and art work, much of it created by the residents.
Approximately 140 people attended, a new record said Betsy Burmeister, recreation department director.
The fact that Windemere manages to provide a family atmosphere within an institution owes much to the caring people who work and volunteer there.
Chris Porterfield, director of dietary services, and chef Paul Donnelly manned a lengthy buffet line that included roast beef and chicken. "It's wonderful to see all you guys dining together," said Mr. Porterfield as he placed a piece of roast chicken on the plate of a guest.
Volunteer Nancy Cabot, who leads the group that produced much of the art of display, lent a hand and stepped in to serve fresh chowder.
Windemere administrator Ken Chisholm moved among the tables serving beverages, greeting people and busing tables.
Among those enjoying the evening was Judy and David Cunniffe of Oak Bluffs and Mrs. Cunniffe's mother, Charlene Corrigan.
"It's a wonderful evening, absolutely wonderful," said Mr. Cunniffe.
"I like being here," said Mrs. Corrigan, who moved from a Florida facility to Windemere in October. "Everyone is so welcoming and friendly. I'm glad I came."
And the 95-year-old added, "And thank goodness I still have my faculties. I know what I am talking about."
In the foyer, volunteer Dorothy Bangs played the piano and resident Arthur Silvia played an acoustic bass as residents and guest sang along to familiar tunes. A young girl hummed along with the music much to the delight of several elderly residents.
This reporter stooped down next to his mother seated in a wheelchair and asked if she was tiring and wanted to go back to her room. "No," said Helen Sigelman, "Happy things don't make you tired."