With the intensity and speed at which Pat, resident at Springvale Terrace, deals the cards, calls out the other players wagers, and collects the pennies after the hand one would think she was a professional dealer at the MGM Grand and not just a regular at the Springvale Terrace Pitty Pat Club “house.” Today’s “victims,” as she so kindly puts it, are fellow residents Ruth, Harriet, and Virginia. Virginia is the club’s longest member having lived at Springvale Terrace for 8 years. But there is no doubt that Pat is in charge.
Ruth explains to the table that Pitty Pat is the national card game of Belize. Harriet, the quietest of the bunch, explains that the game usually has two to four players and uses a standard 52 card deck. Though it may not be apparent at first sight, Pitty Pat is essentially a rummy game. Players swap cards, argue, and have their own terminology for pulling from the cards. They all call it “plucking.” The speed of the game is disorienting but Pat doesn’t lose focus for one second. It is a sight to behold watching it all unfold on the 2nd floor at Springvale Terrace.
Usually the Pitty Pat Club has two tables of 7 people each going every day starting at 3pm. Although today there are only 4 players, you would be hard pressed to know that today isn’t a full house. From down the hall, out of sight, the laughter and debate makes it sound like 50 people are playing in the final round of the World Series of Poker. The arguing is glaringly good natured and centers around Virginia’s pace of play and Ruth’s winning streak of 5 straight hands.
Pat and Harriet explain that this daily game is something that many residents at Springvale look forward to every afternoon. It gives the residents a chance to play a game they love with people whose company they enjoy. This game and the smiles on the residents faces are just a glimpse into how Seabury Resources for Aging is supporting aging well.
It is easy to forget that older adults are just that: adults who are older. They are not people who have suddenly lost their passion for hobbies or activities. Pat, Harriet, Virginia, and Ruth are evidence that it’s quite the opposite. As older adults age they are more prone to depression and isolation. Activities and mental stimulation in areas that are already enjoyed are vital to satisfaction and happiness for everyone including older adults. Whether it’s card games or trips to the Smithsonian, remembering that older adults still have wants, desires, and the need to stay engaged is imperative.
The mission of Seabury Resources for Aging is to help older adults live with independence and age with dignity. This is something that the Pitty Pat Club is putting into practice by providing an arena for residents to live their best lives and win big, one penny at a time!
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