Wishes Aren’t Just for Kids…

Tiny Evelyn, from Joliett, IL had always wanted to ride a camel.  The police department raised the money to have Einstein the Camel take her for a ride.

Tiny Evelyn, from Joliett, IL had always wanted to ride a camel. The police department raised the money to have Einstein the Camel take her for a ride.

One day my father, in a fit of pique, stated, “Kids never ask their parents about their dreams.” I was floored…but, he was somewhat correct. On the other hand, parents often don’t share their dreams with their children, and sharing is what makes for closer connections. Now, however, I can meet my father head on if he ever ends up in an eldercare community or in hospice care – I can introduce him to Second Wind Dreams.

No, this is not a joke. Second Wind Dreams (SWD) was formed in 1997, and it grew from the work of geriatric specialist P.K. Beville, M.S. who co-authored Second Wind, a novel about people living in a nursing home. Over the last twelve years, SWD has become involved in more than 290 eldercare communities in 40 states, Canada and India. The mission that drives SWD is simple: through the fulfillment of dreams and the offering of innovative educational opportunities to caregivers and communities, SWD seeks to change the perception and experience of aging, empowering elders to age with dignity, hope and joy.

Browsing through the site is enough to make someone smile, as the dreams (or, wishes) are both fantastic and simple. Sometimes, people ask to relive a past experience, such as a visit to a favorite vacation place. Other dreams are longer-lasting, such as learning how to play the piano. According to the Web site, “An unbelievable 46 percent of dreams fulfilled are just for fun. Our recipients want to go to the Price is Right, ride a go-cart, a camel or a rollercoaster. This proves we never lose the ‘kid’ in us.”

As for simplicity, wishes for something as simple as a cupholder for a wheelchair or a dress so you can attend church again can mean much to an elderly person.

In addition to fulfilling thousands of dreams, Second Wind Dreams has built an award-winning program that includes training and support for Dreamweavers, educational programs for eldercare professionals, a quarterly newsletter, a web site, and ongoing publicity efforts with local and national media. Support for making wishes come true is available through individual donations and through special events sponsored by SWD. SWD also is creating an option to sponsor a dream, if that’s your cup of tea.

Not only is the SWD site a great place to spend some time browsing, it’s a wonderful resource to learn more about what your elderly loved ones may want. This means a lot – especially to kids who have a parent who never shared his dreams (dad!).

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