After many years of working as a geriatrician, East Cobb resident P.K. Beville had become troubled—“sick and tired,” as she put it—by how seniors were often regarded by the outside world.
Instead of finding elders to be non-productive and aspiring to little more than living out the rest of their days, she came to know them as “unsung heroes.”
With a background in psychology, Beville understood seniors to have dreams of their own, and that they were going unfulfilled. “We were okay with warehousing them, but I found them fascinating, amazing, funny, full of history and wisdom,” Beville said.
In appreciating the richness of the inner lives of seniors, Beville “also found a cause,” and in 1997 started a non-profit organization, Second Wind Dreams, to address it. “I tried to think of ways to create a bridge from the general population to the people who got us here.”
Second Wind Dreams (named after a novel she wrote about the varied lives of nursing home residents) helps seniors live out those dreams.
Dinner, cocktails and entertainment from an Elvis impersonator for 92-year-old twin sisters. A ride in a sports car for a gentleman who doesn’t get out very often. For just a few minutes, it was the ride of a lifetime.
“I selected the word ‘dream’ for a reason,” Beville said. “They’re looking to the future and that’s so beautiful. They’re dreams that you and I take for granted.”
Beville said that the loved ones of seniors want to help with this “dream weaving” but often don’t know how to help. Second Wind Dreams connects them and volunteers with those opportunities. A number of individuals and organizations in East Cobb have been involved, including students from Pope High School.
Another growing part of the work of Second Wind Dreams is to provide education about dementia through its Virtual Dementia Tour, a service program that helps fund the non-profit.
For those interested in learning more, or in helping out, visit the Second Wind Dreams website (www.secondwind.org) or contact community relations coordinatorJune Rondinone at 678-624-0500, ext. 415.