Toes in the sand...

Resident of Princeton Health Care Center Anna Wysong fulfills her dream of visiting the beach for the first time. Wysong is accompanied by Katrina Tickle and Robin Pacitto.

Members of the community and the staff at the Princeton Health Care Center are helping to make dreams come true for residents.

Through the Second Wind Dreams program, the health care center has fulfilled many dreams for the residents that include a variety of requests over the past three years.

Founded by P.K. Beville, the Second Wind Dreams program strives to fulfill dreams of individuals living in elder care communities to enhance their lives and give the community a different perspective on older citizens.

Katrina Tickle, assistant activity director at Princeton Health Care Center, said the center attends a yearly activity conference and it was at one of these conferences that a speaker for Second Wind Dreams presented the program.

“It seemed like something we could possibly implement in our facility,” Tickle said.

The health care center had to pay a one-time membership fee and they are now members for life.

Deborah Burnette, activity director, said quite a few dreams have been fulfilled since the center became a member of the program. She added that it seems like the center just joined the program yesterday.

“It's just so touching to us,” she said.

The facility tries to fulfill at least two to three dreams each year. When a resident has a dream fulfilled a photo is taken and displayed in a cabinet at the center. With many dreams fulfilled in three years, Burnette said they may have to find a larger cabinet.

Tickle said residents’ dreams can be fulfilled within the facility or by submitting a dream online.

A resident who recently had her dream fulfilled was Anna Wysong.

“Anna’s dream I will never forget,” said Burnette.

Wysong had never visited the beach, so the health care center posted her dream online and arrangements were made for a visit to Virginia Beach. Staff from the center, including Burnette and Tickle, as well as a member of Wysong’s family were able to accompany Wysong to the beach.

“My sister was talking about these chairs you could take down on the beach that will move like a regular wheelchair,” Wysong said.

“Anna got all the way down into the water and got her feet wet,” Burnette said.

Wysong also wanted to see the sunrise and sunset on the beach.

“She had a hotel room with an ocean view and was able to see the sun in the morning and in the evening,” Tickle said.  

Wysong was also able to visit an aquarium and Williamsburg during her trip.

When asked how she enjoyed her time at the beach Wysong said, “It was great.”

Burnette added, “Anna  has a big heart and she'll do anything she can to make someone happy.”

Other dreams fulfilled for residents have included riding on a motorcycle one more time (the resident rode in a sidecar), being sheriff for a day and seeing family members for the first time in many years.

One resident was able to see her son after 30 years of being apart. Her son was provided with a bus ticket, motel stay and meals during his visit. The resident has since passed away, but Tickle said, “It’s been an experience we’ll never forget.”

Both Burnette and Tickle are thankful for all the assistance they have received to fulfill dreams for the health care center’s residents.

“The community has been awesome,” Tickle said. “For this to work people have to give their time and a lot of effort goes into it.”

Burnette added, “I can't sing enough praises for our director (Roger Topping) and chief financial officer ( Keith Buchanan) to allow for this to happen.”

Tickle said the Second Wind Dreams program is about making dreams come true at any age.

“You're never too old to dream,” she said. “If we can make a difference in any way in a resident’s life, even it if it's just for that moment, that's what it's all about. It is important to the community, the residents and the families. It's just a wonderful organization and I'm so thankful to be a part of it.

— Contact Jackie Puglisi at jpuglisi@ptonline.net

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