I was moved to tears tonight at Macaulay Lodge’s “Macaulay’s Got Talent” night.
I helped my “adopted mom” make the transition from her home to this facility in January of this year. She lost her husband just over a year ago and was living in substandard accommodation, lonely and suffering from the grief of this loss. It is very hard for the elderly to adapt to change and I have not seen Joanie as happy as she is right now in a very long time.
I saw decorations displayed everywhere, all made by the residents. They even had a logo for the show. I saw staff scurrying everywhere making sure that the appropriate props and sound system apparatus were placed, unplaced and replaced in between acts.
I watched a mother and daughter playing the piano and singing together. The mother played and they both sang. I will never forget Bayne’s story about how the “watch for falling rock” signs ended up on the Skagway road; or Stanley’s amazing guitar solo; Toots playing and singing two old time love songs totally from memory – not a sheet of music in front of her; the Macaulay Rockers dance group with Betty strutting her stuff like there was no tomorrow including planting a spur-of-the-moment kiss on a male admirer’s cheek; Vivian’s card trick; Isabel’s rendition of “Your Good Girl’s Gonna’ Go Bad”; Gordon’s funny songs; Edith’s recitation from memory of “The Cremation of Sam McGee”; Barb’s poetic reading; Jumping Jupiter who can jump over suspended walking canes and give you a high five; Maureen’s amazing MC abilities – jokes between acts and all; Joanie’s secret act and her rant that closed the show; and the incredible talent of staff who sang, performed and helped those who needed it with their hair, costumes and trips to and from the microphone.
The applause, hand-clapping to the music and cheers from the standing-room-only audience were not the only indications of the success of this night. Each participant received a red rose and a certificate of participation. At the end of the night it was thrilling to watch the residents and staff congratulating each other on their acts and the look of pleasure on all of their faces. I felt like I was on the set of a new musical production. They had participated together and succeeded together.
I worked at Senior’s Lodge while living in Calgary and I never witnessed there what I saw here in Whitehorse tonight. There is a deep mutual respect between residents and staff. Residents are very appreciative of the personal care provided by staff and staff appreciate the residents for exactly who they are at this stage of their lives. I can’t wait to see the show next year because none of what I saw tonight can be accomplished without a little four letter word that means more than anything else – love.