When Gloria Rodriguez came home after a shopping trip one day last year, she was shocked to find her mother on the floor after having fallen down. Unable to lift her mom by herself, Rodriguez called on neighbors who came to help.
Rodriguez realized it was time she to get the kind of round-the-clock care her mom now needed, and found her mother a place at St. Vincent de Paul Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Longwood.
“My father used to be here at St. Vincent de Paul,” said Rodriguez. “I thought it would the best place for my mom.”
Rodriguez’s mother, who is also named Gloria, recently celebrated her 99th birthday with other residents at St. Vincent. Others who celebrated birthdays in late July at the center included 93-year old Agustin Mendez and centenarian Iris Smith.
The center’s director of therapeutic recreation, Luis Flores, helps organize birthday celebrations, religious services, pet therapy, trips and weekly barbecues to help the elderly residents from feeling isolated.
“The celebration is to let them socialize with other residents,” said Flores.
The celebration left many residents with smiles. It was a particularly special celebration, thanks to Smith’s 100th year, said Flores.
“It’s not just a special birthday but an achievement of living to 100,” he said.
Smith spent her birthday dancing and chatting with the residents. The key to her longevity, she said, is reflected in her own personal mantra.
“I just take it one day at a time,” said Smith. “I live for today, I don’t worry about tomorrow.”