Recently, residents and staff from Porter Place Memory Care paid a visit to their local Tinley Park Fire Station #47. The outing was officially in celebration of National Firefighter’s Day. But, for Allen Williams, it was special for an even more important reason.
In addition to being a Porter Place resident, Allen Williams holds the distinction of being a retired lieutenant at the Chicago Fire Department. Allen was interested in visiting the local fire station, not only to have a look around, but to personally thank them for their service. For the firefighters at Station #47 it was also an opportunity to step back in time, as they listened with interest to Allen as he shared some memories about his experiences as a firefighter “back in the day”.
Fellow residents and staff members brought refreshments, including cupcakes from the local Creative Cakes bakery. Most importantly, they brought many words of thanks and appreciation for the hard work the local firefighters do every day to keep the community safe.
While everyone enjoyed the visit, it was especially important to Mr. Williams as it sparked some old memories that had been hidden throughout the years; memories which he was delighted to share, and others enjoyed hearing.
It is not unusual for individuals living with dementia to recall early memories of childhood and even former occupations. At our Anthem Memory Care communities, we understand the importance of connecting residents to their former work and the events of their earlier years. While short-term memory fades quickly, sometimes all they need is someone or something to spark an early memory. When that happens, we all rejoice!
The event was covered by the Chicago Tribune as well as the Tinley Park Patch. “This was a wonderful way for Allen to reminisce and connect with the new generation of firefighters and join his friends in recognizing their dedication to the citizens of Tinley Park,” Kelley Tighe, community relations director for Porter Place told a reporter from the Tinley Park Patch. “It brought our residents great joy to show their thanks in person to these first responders and learn more about their exciting work.”
(Our top image shows Allen Williams donning a Tinley Park firefighter’s helmet. His smile says it all!)