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Seniors enjoy a day to kick up their heels

June 12, 2005|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

QUINCY, PA. - Ninety-year-old Ben Kauffman kept time to "I'll Fly Away," "On the Wings of a Dove" and "Long Black Train" with both feet and his cane as the Whirly Birds, a square-dancing group from Chambersburg, Pa., twirled and promenaded.

A former square dancer himself, when Kauffman no longer could keep his seat, he hopped up and grabbed the nearest available partner - a clown.

Susan Barlup, a Medicare specialist at Quincy Retirement Community, had dressed up as a brightly colored clown for the community's Annual Day Celebration. She danced and laughed with Kauffman for several minutes.

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Annual Day is a day "to celebrate our residents, past and present," said Carol Forsythe, a registered nurse at the home. "It's not a fundraiser. It's a day for our residents to enjoy an outdoor setting for eating and entertainment."

Extra staff and volunteers, along with family members, helped out with the event. A petting zoo was set up beside the building, and a display of miniature carousels was set up inside. Tours of renovated rooms in the Colestock wing were offered.

The residents seemed to be enjoying the events despite hot, steamy weather. Sitting under a large canopy, they ate ice cream and watched a costumed German oompah band, tap dancers and the Wayne Band. The residents, many sitting in balloon-festooned wheelchairs, nodded their heads and clapped to the music.

Earlier, the Mason-Dixon Barbershop Quartet strolled the halls of the nursing home to sing to the few residents who did not come outside, Barlup said.

Especially popular with the residents were the Glitterbugs, a group of "tap-dancing Grannies" who put down sheets of wood on the parking lot and tap danced.

Many of the buildings used by the home were formerly an orphanage, which operated from around the turn of the century until 1971, Forsythe said.

"Annual Day started as a celebration of graduation for those raised in the orphanage when they went out into the world," Forsythe said. "A lot of the alumni came back for it."

Some residents of Quincy Village were raised in the orphanage, Forsythe said.

"They never went hungry, even during the Depression," she said. "Quincy had a rich tradition of being a self-sufficient community. It had a working farm, a bake shop and a print shop. The orphans were taught Christian values and faith."

About 225 people live in Quincy Village, the independent living section, Forsythe said, with 37 in personal care and 112 in the nursing home.

Clara Yetter, who has lived in the nursing home for six weeks, said she listened to band music and it was "real good." She ate chicken corn soup, a hot dog and ice cream outside and "it tasted good," she said.

Esther Fitz of Fayetteville, Pa., has been at the home for physical therapy since February, "and I'm going home tonight," she said. "I haven't been to (Annual Day) for years. I'm enjoying myself outside."

Jean Smith of Waynesboro, Pa., also is at the home temporarily for physical therapy after stumbling over a skateboard.

"This is very nice," she said. "I'm enjoying what everyone else is doing."

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