Alzheimer’s Buddies is up and running this fall 2015 semester. Below are quotes from the directors of the program, on their returning experiences to HSL.
“My Buddy’s eyes lit up the moment they settled on me. ‘My friend!’ she cried. ‘How are you? I haven’t seen you in so long!’ This first visit of fall 2014, we had two new members “shadowing” me. My Buddy was a gracious host as always, just as Russian tradition goes. She gave us all candy and invited us to sit in her room. I learned something from my Buddy today. When we asked for her to tell us her story she was feeling too tired, so I told our newbies a bit about her life for her. When we got to her impressive accomplishments, like how she studied piano at a Russian conservatory before WWII and how she’d immigrated to the US in her sixties and learned her amazing English then, she seemed pretty content. But when we got to how she met her husband and how her grandson is a published professor at Boston University, her eyes lit up, and she gave us a big grin. ‘Yes! You remembered!’ she exclaimed. My Buddy is a mirror for me to see inside myself more clearly every week, and even when she’s not feeling well enough to talk, she teaches me so much. She serves as a living example of what stands the test of time: the relationships we make and the people we love, not just the things we accomplish.” —Jennifer Tu, HCAB Co-Director
“The first visit of this semester was a unique experience for me, because it was the first time I went to see my new buddy. There was a sadness in my heart that I was not going to visit Vera, but I was ready to take all that she had taught me, and incorporate it into my new relationship. When I first walked in, my buddy said hello and looked so happy that she had a visitor. We began to talk, and I found out that she had family that visits regularly, although she could not remember who they were exactly. Throughout the visit we learned every minute, realizing we both love ice cream, funny TV shows, and looking at pictures. Before I left, I gave her a high five, and told her I would be back next week. Although she was sad to see me go, as was I to leave, we are both excited to continue learning from each other and growing as friends. We are a perfect match, and I cannot wait to see what is in store!” — Selena Pasadyn, HCAB Co-Director
“When I asked my buddy to tell our two visitors about herself, she proclaimed that she was over 100 years old! Really, she just turned 100, but she enjoys first captivating her audience with her centenarian line, every time. Starting with her childhood, my buddy quickly introduced us to her musical home, filled with her talented siblings and hardworking immigrant parents. Soon as my buddy discussed her creative adolescence, we would occasionally reflect on the different societal and cultural roles at the time. Finally, her reflection on her long-lasting marriage and successful parenthood, inspired our young group to share our intimate goals and insecurities about the future. Every visit, my buddy arms me with a perspective of humbleness and excitement to make the most of my upcoming week.” —Renajd Rrapi, Co-Director