By Danielle Agoglia
Atria Senior Living has started a tradition of gratitude. To celebrate World Gratitude Day Atria residents, their friends, family and the staff participate in an international “go grateful” campaign which falls on Sept. 21. Last year, it chose to show an appreciation for police officers and firemen by handing out candy, flowers, hugs and compliments galore.
This year, the Atria of Glen Cove expressed its passion for pets and pet caregivers, by raising money and collecting donations for local animal shelters with its “Cause for Paws” campaign.
It was in early August that Engage Life Director Ashley Katon-Donegal met with Atria residents to decide where they wanted to show their gratitude this year. Expressing their love for animals, the residents decided that donating to local shelters from where some had adopted pets was a great way to give back.
“We chose that because we all like animals,” said Atria resident of five years Gloria Panaro. “There are many people who give time and they take such good care of the animals and they’re amazing, and they don’t get much in return.”
The seniors collected wish list items during the month of September including toys, blankets and food to be donated to Cove Animal Rescue in Glen Cove and The Little Shelter Animal Rescue & Adoption Center in Huntington.
“The residents really got a kick out of it,” said Katon-Donegal. “Not only the process of collecting the money for it, but delivering it; four residents did deliveries for both.”
The Atria ladies were also able to spend some time with the cats. “It was a pleasure to meet the ladies from the Atria, accept their donations, and introduce them to our dogs and the cats and our cat suites,” said Kathy Norcia, Cove Animal Rescue director. “We hope this is the first of many visits for an ongoing friendship.”
The campaign also is designed to encourage public participation. On GoGratefulNow.com, shareable images for social media posts can be downloaded and photos of expressions of gratitude can be shared. Participants are asked to incorporate “#goGrateful” in social media posts with the goal of reaching 50,000 hashtag shares by the end of September.
While it’s a fairly safe assumption that people like to receive appreciation, a growing body of research points to the benefits for those who give gratitude. A 2015 study conducted at the University of California, San Diego, and published by the American Psychological Association, found gratitude to be associated with better moods, better sleep and improved heart health, all which lead to greater well-being.
“Gratitude is such a simple and universal principle, and yet it’s so powerful,” said Ronda Watson, senior vice president of Culinary and Engage Life for Atria. “The ‘Go Grateful’ campaign is a form of creative expression that allows our residents to demonstrate the wisdom and the perspective they’ve earned through experience — and that others can learn from. Our residents inspire us, and we know they’ll be an inspiration to others.”