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Volunteers Deliver Flower Power At Waveny LifeCare In New Canaan

Mary Tanzi and Carroll Yanicelli, flower volunteers, prepare cut flowers for display in 
Waveny Care Center’s Main Dining room. Mary Tanzi and Carroll Yanicelli, flower volunteers, prepare cut flowers for display in 
Waveny Care Center’s Main Dining room.
Mary Tanzi and Carroll Yanicelli, flower volunteers, prepare cut flowers for display in Waveny Care Center’s Main Dining room. Photo Credit: Contributed
Sheila McMann cares for Waveny’s indoor plants. Sheila McMann cares for Waveny’s indoor plants.
Sheila McMann cares for Waveny’s indoor plants. Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- Volunteers at Waveny LifeCare Network in New Canaan dedicate their horticultural talent and knack for beautification on a daily basis throughout the eldercare organization’s main campus.

Known to provide therapeutic benefits, improve emotional health and enhance social interaction, flowers brighten each day at Waveny thanks to the numerous “flower volunteers” who create floral arrangements to adorn the dining rooms, reception areas, nursing stations and common areas.

Championed and nurtured by pioneer flower volunteer Allison Caesar over three decades, Waveny’s volunteer-based flower program now has more participation than ever.

“These devoted volunteers not only donate their time and energy, but also personally provide the flowers that are used in the arrangements,” said Debbie Perron, director of volunteers at Waveny. “In the summertime, most of the flowers are from the volunteers’ very own gardens. In addition, we have recycled and repurposed flowers generously donated from beautiful weddings and church services. Local stores like Trader Joes and Walter Stewart’s are very supportive in donating fresh flowers as well.”

The flower volunteers – many of whom are active members of the New Canaan Garden Club, the Garden Club of Darien, Stamford Garden Club, the Gardeners of New Canaan, the Beautification League (formerly the New Canaan Garden Center), the Tuesday Ladies and the Wilton P.E.O. group – come to Waveny each week to create uplifting floral designs and return to change water and make sure that all flowers remain fresh.

“It is a win-win,” said Katie Stewart, a member of the New Canaan Garden Club. “One of the great joys in life is giving back to the community. It’s so very rewarding to create fresh flower arrangements that bring so much happiness to Waveny’s residents and patients – and staff, too.”

In addition to the floral arrangements within the building, flower volunteers also help to maintain the plants that characterize Waveny’s patios and terraces. Volunteers not only plant the flowers but they also make sure that the plants are ‘healthy and happy’ by watering and cutting the plants back when needed. 

Volunteer Sheila McMann has been taking care of the indoor plants at Waveny for over 15 years and also serves tea to Care Center residents.

“The New Canaan Garden Club has been the sponsor of the indoor plants at Waveny since I approached them nearly 15 years ago,” said McMann, a club member herself.

The New Canaan Garden Club conducts a monthly Horticultural Therapy Program at Waveny in which volunteers bring flowers, vases and other materials needed for Waveny’s residents to participate in creating and designing their own floral masterpieces. The completed arrangements are displayed on the Care Center and Village’s dining room tables for all to enjoy.

“Residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of memory loss receive important sensory and mental stimulation and use hand-eye coordination in physically putting the flowers together,” said Lauren Elker, director of therapeutic recreation at Waveny Care Center. “This meaningful ‘touch of home’ activity brings them down memory lane and provides new opportunities to discover and learn about flowers and plants.”

To learn more about floral arrangement volunteerism or any other type of volunteer service, contact Perron at 203-594-5334 or DPerron@waveny.org.

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