Posts Tagged ‘littleton’

Kathy was telling me on the commuter train about an article on Littleton’s Life Care Center, which uses llamas and other critters to engage the residents.

I said, “Send me a link!”

Today I received the article in the Lowell Sun. Samantha Allen writes, “At the Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley, it’s not uncommon to see patients asleep in their wheelchairs by the saltwater-fish tank, or out for a stroll around a pasture filled with grass-grazing animals like goats and llamas.

“Director Ellen Levinson said while the merits of ‘pet therapy’ have been adopted and used at various skilled nursing facilities across the country, it’s rare to find chickens and alpacas at a site.

“At the 120-bed nursing home, which houses a specialized memory-support unit for those with severe dementia and other conditions that affect the memory, staff members make time to ensure their patients interact with the animals whenever possible.

” ‘This is my philosophy: A lot of places say, “We have pet therapy,” and what they have is someone who brings a dog in on a leash once a week,’ she said. ‘If I were living here, that would make me more miserable. It’s not like real life. It’s not like having a dog, and then you’re just tempted with what you could have all the time.’ …

“This spring, the Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley was awarded a perfect score by the [Massachusetts] Department of Public Health in a survey of nursing homes and senior-care providers.” According to Kathy, the Center is also friendly to outsiders, welcoming the public in for the llama shearing and other events.

Read more about the approach Levinson devised, here.

Photo: Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley 

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In a sign of moving with the times, the 54-year-old Littleton, Mass., Country Gardeners now call themselves a flash mob when they descend on public spaces to pull weeds and trim bushes.

Writes Grant Welker of the Sun, “The club of 34 active members — ranging in age from 30s to 90s, and all women — might not turn as many heads as a flash mob that quickly forms in a public setting, and there’s surely no dancing or singing involved. But it does serve more of a purpose.

“This group plans its mobs, shows up at the arranged time, works its gardening magic, and then disappears again, leaving a beautified space in its wake. …

“On a recent Saturday at 1 p.m., a group of five assembled at the Littleton Cemetery at the intersection of King Street and New Estate Road, fixed up a butterfly garden and, within about an hour, was gone, with some of the same members on to the next project. There were three mob-gardening sessions that day: at the cemetery, and then at Littleton Cafe at 3 p.m., and Common Convenience on Littleton Common at 5 that afternoon.” More.

Now, without calling these cheerful efforts at all staid, I can’t help thinking that a little singing and dancing wouldn’t hurt. I wonder if anyone has ever thought of pulling a flash mob on a flash mob?

You could find out when the gardening flash mob was scheduled, then show up with a brass band and baton twirlers to encourage the workers in the town common.

Or what about something around Halloween, with the surprise mob descending on the cemetery clean-up wearing costumes and handing out candied apples while “Monster Mash” plays on someone’s iPod?

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I went to the concert of an oboe-playing friend Sunday. The 3 p.m. event coincided with the anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that took place a year ago in Japan. My friend, of Japanese heritage, was moved by the music he was playing, and so was I. The modern pieces really sounded like an earthquake to me. I had visions of Poseidon, the Bull from the Sea, rising up in anger against humankind, and later of hope dawning.

The Charles River Wind Ensemble, where my friend plays, has a new conductor. I liked Matthew Marsit’s energetic style and his explanations of the pieces. Marsit, a clarinetist himself, is also a conductor at Dartmouth College, where he practices his belief in music outreach to lower-income communities.

“An advocate for the use of music as a vehicle for service, Matthew has led ensembles on service missions in Costa Rica and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, collecting instruments for donation to schools, performing charity benefit concerts and offering workshops to benefit arts programs in struggling schools.  His current work at Dartmouth allows for outreach projects in the rural schools of New Hampshire and Vermont, working to stimulate interest in school performing arts programs.” Read more.

I think musicians can be very giving people. Indian Hill Music in Littleton, Massachusetts, offers scholarships and more. Someone I know on the board tells me that Indian Hill has “a program to bring music instruction to schools in the region that have cut out music due to budgetary constraints. They also offer free concerts, a Threshold choir (music for dying patients), and a number of other outreach efforts.”

In Providence, Rhode Island, Community MusicWorks demonstrates how music builds community and teaches social responsibility. You can read about this and other innovations in Rhode Island’s creative economy here.

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