Seniors, kids mingle in week of fun | PostIndependent.com
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Seniors, kids mingle in week of fun

April E. Clark

Senior citizens clad in colorful leis clapped and smiled as giggling kids serenaded them with “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” Tuesday morning in Carbondale.”This is a fun hat,” said one little boy as he touched the brim of his straw Hawaiian chapeau.The luau-themed “Mommy & Me” class was part of Heritage Park Assisted Living and Care Center’s Activity Professionals Week taking place through Friday. Pre-kindergarten kids, aged 4 to 5 years old, from Columbine Kids in Basalt, visited the center to sing with residents and make a Valentine’s Day craft.”This community is amazing. Heritage Park is like the kids’ grandma and grandpa place. You see the spark in the residents eyes when they see them,” said Darlene Ballman, activities assistant at Heritage Park. “You can tell they remember teaching their own kids songs. You can’t ask for anything better.”While Ballman led the young and old in song, musician Barry Chapman, a part-time employee at Columbine Kids, played the keyboard.”The young kids bring a whole sparkle to the place and the residents light up,” said Chapman, who recently started a world beat-inspired band. “They really like the ‘Hokey Pokey’ and the way we jazz it up.”Like a high school warming up for the big homecoming game, Heritage Park has been full of spirit this week with designated dress-up days. Employees wore hippie attire on Monday, spread the spirit of the islands Tuesday and planned to dress as their favorite musicians for “Music Day ” today. Thursday, employees and residents will don pajamas, and Friday presents a western theme.”We have to watch what we wear on Wednesday because I’ve heard we may have to karaoke a song by whoever we are,” said Jessica Beery, who works in human resources at Heritage Park.Ballman said the activities help brighten the week for employees, and the residents enjoy getting into the spirit.”We try to touch every part of their lives,” she said. “A lot of them have health issues, and if we can lift them and make them forget about doctor visits or therapy for a while, we’ve done our jobs.”


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