Etta Morse is like most 3-year-old toddlers. She loves the color purple and pink, she gets excited for snack time and one of her best friends just happens to be a 95-year-old veteran with a less than perfect memory. His name is Stanley and he has been living at an assisted living facility since it opened two years ago. He is one of more than 60 residents at Avita of Wells all living with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
One of the programs they run at Avita is a music program where children from the community are welcomed every Friday to sing songs, play with instruments and games while more than 20 seniors look onward and participate if they are feeling up to the task. It was two years ago, when Etta was only 1, when she first met Stanley at one of Avita’s music generations classes and Etta kept bringing Stanley instruments. The two apparently had a connection.
Since that moment their friendship has blossomed and now Etta comes to visit even on days when there is no music class. Stanley is a man of few words but one thing is clear, “I just adore her,” he says, as he looks in Etta’s direction. They play puzzles. Stanley sings to Etta as she draws. And recently the toddler became the teacher when Etta schooled Stanely on how to play Candy Land. “We came to visit him for his birthday and I asked if any family member was coming to visit and he said no. And she, out of the blue goes, ‘well now you have our family,’” Morse says of her daughter. When asked about how he likes the music class Stanley makes it clear the only reason he goes is for his dear little friend. “I mean I like music but I like this one better…Bettah Etta,” Stanley says.
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Story and Image from NewsCenterMaine