Jane Brooks was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at 67. But that hasn’t slowed her down, she’s still very active in events at Brookdale Columbia including the gardening club, the BFit exercise classes and she’s even an ambassador welcoming new residents to the community. The disease hasn’t made her stop being active but has affected her ability to play with her 7-year-old twin grandchildren, Michael and Brittany.
“I used to be able to run and jump with them,” said Jane. “But I’ve had to stop those things. I still want to do as much as possible. It’s important to me that they know how much I want to still play games with them.”
When she expressed these concerns to Cyndy Sanders, the resident program coordinator, Cyndy had an idea that she thought would help.
“I knew we could do something to help,” said Cyndy. “Seniors hear ‘no’ too many times, but we have a ‘yes’ culture here so I wanted to create an opportunity for Jane to hear that it was possible for her to still play with her grandchildren.”
But Cyndy didn’t stop there. She wanted all of the residents with younger loved ones to be able to connect. So, “Camp Grammy and Gramp” was born.
On July 27, seven attended the first ever day camp at the community. The residents and children participated in several activities, including a corn-hole game, visor making and other crafts. They even had a camp sing-a-long and an indoor s’more making opportunity.
Michael asked a few times, “Can we do this again!?!?” A feeling that was shared among all the campers (and grandparents) in attendance.
Jane said this was the first time she had had her grandchildren by herself. She added, “I hope the children learned that their grandparents are still able to enjoy the things they enjoy and that we look forward to the times they visit.”