More than 300 residents and staff of Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack recently celebrated a century of Disney’s rich history of magic and storytelling with a 100-year jubilee commemorating both the milestone anniversary as well as Gurwin centenarians who inducted Disney into the “Gurwin Centenarian Club. ”
“We are so excited that our residents are able to celebrate Disney’s 100th birthday as if they were actually at Disney themselves,” said Nicole Hopper, CTRS, Director of Therapeutic Recreation at Gurwin Center. “Since our residents are unable to travel to Disney, we decided to bring the magic of Disney to them.”
The essence of Magic Kingdom was experienced by all who stepped into the Center’s Simon Rainbow Room’s “100 Years of Wonder” event. Created by Gurwin staff dressed as Mouseketeers and other memorable Disney characters, the spectacular celebration was filled with Disney-themed memorabilia and activities, such as a Magic Kingdom photo booth, meet-and-greet characters and a caricature artist who sketched portraits of the residents and staff.
Gurwin residents enjoyed viewing Disney classics on the big screen, a learn-to-draw Mickey Mouse art station, and decadent Disney theme-park desserts such as churros, soft pretzels and the iconic Disney waffles. The celebration ended in true Disney fashion with the famous “Happily Ever After” firework show displayed on the big screen, much to the delight of residents, family members and staff.
The highlight: a ceremonial induction of Disney into Gurwin’s Centenarian Club. Residents Genevieve Fedele, 103, and soon-to-be 100-year-old Esther Halfon, presented an honorary certificate to Disney as the club’s newest member, offering sage words of advice: “Keep making magic!”
In addition to the celebration at the Gurwin Center, residents of Gurwin’s Assisted Living community, Fountaingate Gardens Independent Living Community and Island Nursing and Rehab Center in Holtsville, also a member of the Gurwin Healthcare System, participated in Epcot-themed celebrations and special Disney magic.
“Our staff across the System poured their hearts into creating enchanting events for all of our residents,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System. “It was a wonderful day of nostalgic festivities, with the icing on the cake being our 100+ year-old residents welcoming Disney into the Gurwin Centenarians Club. We are so fortunate to have such a talented and caring team that creates such amazing experiences for our residents, their families and our staff members as well.”