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Hearth Resident Enjoys Cultural Life, Friendship, Understanding, and Team’s Caring Kindness

December 19, 2023

A Hearth at Drexel resident and his daughter holding their caricature drawing

Al, a resident of The Hearth at Drexel, an Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Bala Cynwyd, PA, has been an advocate for education and has also been interested in English, history, music and cultural enrichment all of his life. He has emphasized these in his life and work, sharing these interests with his son, Eric, daughter, Alyse, son-in-law, Jonathan, grandson, Eoin, and great-granddaughter, Manoa.

According to Alyse, “When my brother and I were growing up, our father regularly encouraged us to proofread the newspaper to find grammar mistakes; to learn new vocabulary words, and he often left strategically placed articles for us to read on a regular basis, to broaden our horizons.”

Hearth resident as a young child with accompanying children photos of daughter and grandson She continues, “As a youngster during the Depression, he appreciated music, and wanted to learn to play an instrument, but he didn’t have the opportunity. He often conducted music on the radio with a pencil in lieu of a conductor’s baton. Later, he developed a love for swing and ball room dance.”

His love of the arts led Al to support his children’s interests in music when they were school age. He made sure his son had the opportunity to study the clarinet and his daughter learned to play the flute. After studying psychology and earning his Master’s degree in education from Temple, Al began his career as a Spanish and history teacher. Later, he moved into social work within The School District of Philadelphia. In today’s parlance, he was a home and school visitor who handled Truancy for the Philadelphia Schools.

About twenty years ago, Al’s wife, Harriett, Alyse’s mother, passed away from cancer. “Dad was an incredible caregiver, taking her to all of her appointments at Fox Chase Cancer Center. He never wavered in his devoted care taking of her. His grandson, Eoin, was age five then, so Al moved from the Northeast to Wynnewood to be closer to his family. He enjoyed helping his grandson with homework, helping him study Latin, English, history, and sharing his love of music, among other pursuits,” explains Alyse.

After Harriett passed, Al spent time at The PALM, a senior center in Ardmore, and at the senior center in Narberth. “He devoted so much energy volunteering there, that he received the Volunteer of The Year Award from The PALM. They were there to serve the senior population, but he was serving them,” elaborates Alyse. “He routinely set out chairs for lunch and served lunch to his fellow seniors.”

Sometime after Harriett passed away, Al resumed ballroom dancing with a new partner, Miriam. “They enjoyed ten years of dancing and companionship and then Miriam also became ill. He behaved the same then as he did with my mother, steadfastly supporting her in her cancer journey,” adds Alyse.

Finding a Compassionate and Caring Community

Hearth resident and daughter pose for picture at The Hearth at Drexel's Fall Picnic in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania

Al moved to The Hearth in January, 2020, after experiencing a health issue that threatened to cause life- style changes. Alyse elaborates, “He was extremely active up to that point, and that caused him to slow down somewhat, as his physical condition required more attention. We looked at many places before Dad moved to The Hearth.”

The Hearth’s proximity to the Main Line and Center City Philadelphia were advantages in considering places for Al to move.

Ballroom dancers entertain residents during a community life event at The Hearth at Drexel, an assisted living and memory care community serving the Philadelphia areaAlyse continues, “However convenient it is to my home, also in Bala, a more important factor was that at The Hearth he could live in a comfortable apartment that feels like home. That, along with The Hearth’s reputation for providing cultural life activities, musical events and other stimulating programs, was a big part of the appeal.”

She concludes, “The aspect of living at The Hearth that my father most enjoys, and for which I am appreciative, is that the team fully know and understand him for who he is; they tune into his likes and dislikes, and pay individual attention to his needs, communicating any health changes accordingly. They take excellent care of him. The entire team exhibit exquisite leadership and my father and our family appreciate their attentiveness, support and compassionate, caring concern.”