On a perfect summer day in July, Cohen Florence Levine Estates residents and staff embarked upon a trip to Revere Beach. Residents, aged 67 to 104, enjoyed feeling the sand beneath their feet and the ocean water on their faces. Many of the residents are originally from Revere and Chelsea and have fond memories of spending time at Revere Beach.
The trip occurred after residents mentioned how much they missed swimming in the ocean. “Some of the residents were talking at dinner one evening about how much they loved Revere Beach and we decided, then and there, to schedule a trip in the summer,” said Kristen Donnelly, executive director of Cohen Florence Levine Estates. “Planning the myriad of details was a huge undertaking, but seeing the huge smiles on the residents’ faces and hearing their laughter throughout the day made it all worthwhile.”
The Revere Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) provided beach accessible wheelchairs as well as a floating wheelchair, which enabled residents to actually “swim” in the ocean. Remarkably, the water was the warmest of the season at a balmy 65 degrees. “The DCR, in particular Charlie Collins, has been instrumental in the planning of this trip,” said Jimmy Honohan, recreational director at Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, the organization that operates the assisted living. In addition to the wheelchairs, the DCR also provided parking for the van, ramps for beach access and a walkway for the wheelchairs. “Charlie has been incredible to our organization,” said Honohan. “I can’t thank him enough.”
Resident Rita Singer, who was the first woman city councilor in Revere, was thrilled to be back on her old stomping grounds. “I grew up in Chelsea and have wonderful memories of summers on this beach,” recalled Rita. “It’s really special for me to be here today.” Rita was one of the first residents to go into the water, got wet from head to toe, and “loved every minute of it.”
Donnelly noted that engaging the residents in activities of their choice is a priority. “We have a strong connection between our staff and our residents,” said Donnelly. “For us, there is nothing better than making their dreams come true.”
In addition to water activities, Kristen Donnelly, Jimmy Honohan, Shellie Honohan and Cathie Messina oversaw beach games, sing-alongs, dancing and pizza from Bianci’s, sponsored by long-time volunteer Judy Weiss of Judy’s Jewels. The smiles on everyone’s faces were a good indication that the outing was a success. Virginia Fiske, 104, summed up the trip. “It is the best day ever,” exclaimed Virginia. “I am having a ball!” Θ