Lucy and Laurie Light Up the Great White Way
By Daniel Carr
Parker has taken Lucy Douglas, a participant in Parker’s Adult Day Club at Home program, and Laurie Peters, director of the program, to some unlikely places. On May 11th, their beautiful faces were smiling down on New York City’s Times Square from the PR Newswire/Reuters billboard. They helped mark Parker’s historic 110th anniversary milestone by reminding everyone to be #WithIt. Being #WithIt is not defined by your age, but your openness to changing the conversation about aging.
They are a dynamic duo: Lucy is the life of the party, and Laurie has the skills and heart to keep the party going. When asked about her initial perceptions of the Parker program, Lucy doesn’t hesitate: “Well,” she sighed, “in the beginning, I didn’t want to join. I kept saying, ‘That’s not for me.’” Lucy didn’t think the Parker program could help her – she has many interests and is already active with her friends.
“It took me a while to join, because I had no idea that it was as great as it is. And [when I met Laurie]… that was it!” Lucy laughs as she explains what changed her mind. “She’s just so sweet and kind. She always has a smile on her face, and always has something nice or funny to say. She really is the perfect person for this job. “
Through the Parker Day Club at Home program, Lucy was able to get to know more residents in the community that she has been a part of for years. She loves the activities, the social opportunities it brings, and praises the program’s mental health benefits, too.
Relaying the story of how she became director of this program, Laurie explains that while taking a class to become a certified activity director, the instructor remarked that somewhere far down the line seniors will be offered activities in their homes. She remembers thinking, “I hope that I’m still in this field when that happens, I would love to be involved with it.”
Now, she is finding ways to continuously redefine her role. For example, Laurie attended cosmetology school with Parker’s assistance and she was able to fill the need for a hairdresser in Lucy’s community. She also carefully plans “themes” for certain days that she visits. “I try to help them in any way,” she says. “I keep my eyes and ears open.”
Ever since Lucy joined the program, she has become a “cheerleader” for Parker and talks to all the new residents about this great opportunity in their community. “I will take time out to talk to people about the program,” Lucy said. “[The Parker Day Club at Home program] is something that I look forward to on Fridays. I make time for this! If someone asks me to do something on a Friday, I say ‘I can do it after two o’clock!’”
As for Lucy and Laurie – they continue to enjoy an electric friendship that illuminated the greatest city in the world.