Bea Weiser, 98, Volunteers to Help People with Alzheimer's
(Photo by Alex Dolce)
For more than 14 years, Bea Weiser, 98, has been the heart and soul of the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center operated by Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. As a volunteer front desk receptionist, she warmly welcomes center attendees who are struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias as well as their caregivers and other guests.
Nothing slows down this vibrant and energetic senior who contributes to the daily duties and office tasks of the Green Memory and Wellness Center three afternoons a week. Even a recent setback with a broken shoulder and a cancer diagnosis has not deterred her from returning to the center and continuing her passion to help others.
Weiser’s altruism and commitment to the center enables other staff members to focus on conducting innovative outreach, education and research programs. For years, Weiser has maintained the recreational assessment record, which is a log of what center participants enjoy doing most, which allows staff to personalize their daily activities.
Among her responsibilities, include checking in participants, providing nametags, handling their walkers, maintaining a strict attendance record, assisting with monthly billing mailings, and helping with special events. Many center participants also complete special art projects as part of their therapy. Weiser makes sure to safeguard these treasures until participants go home for the day.
“Bea is truly an inspiration to our Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center participants, faculty, staff, students, and people of all ages everywhere,” said María de los Ángeles Ordóñez, DNP, APRN, an associate professor in FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and director of the Green Memory and Wellness Center. “Her perseverance, enthusiasm, warm heart and desire to help others is proof that you can make a difference in your community at any age.”
From Worcester, Massachusetts, Weiser’s multifaceted knowledge of the daily activities of the center as well as the staff and attendees comes from years of work experience. She has worked since she was 14 years old. Although she did not attend college – only her two brothers did – she worked at Assumption College while her children were young and took classes there. A resident of Boca Raton, she moved to Florida about 39 years ago.
This mother of three children, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren retired from American Express about 30 years ago where she served as a fraud analyst. In this role, Weiser worked with detectives across the country as well as the Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization.
She continues to maintain her independence (she still drives) and says that she does not scare easily, especially because she survived the powerful and devastating Worcester tornado in 1953, which claimed 100 lives.
What began as a response to an ad for a part-time position at the Green Memory and Wellness Center, which had already been filled by the time Weiser responded, has turned into her life’s mission.“I love working at the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” said Weiser. “The faculty and staff are like family to me and it gives me immense satisfaction to know that I’m making a difference in people’s lives.”