They may not all be very mobile, but residents at the Susan G. McKinney Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn last Wednesday were able to “shake a leg,” as the long-term care center hosted its annual carnival.
According to Angela Cooper, the hard-working, Trinidadian-born facilitator, who served as mistress of ceremonies, the center, now renamed NYC Health + Hospitals / McKinney, has been living up to it mission.
Located at 594 Albany Avenue, the home provides medical, rehabilitation and skilled nursing services for 320 residents “within a pristine and tranquil community.”
Cooper said that, on Wednesday, “in the floral essence of their private garden, there was an explosion of color, a pulsating rhythm in the air and more than 200 community guest and family members gathered to witness and celebrate McKinney’s Resident Labor Day Carnival Parade on the Green — a new initiative that was brought to McKinney.”
More than 80 residents, representing each floor, paraded in front of judges to “showcase a part of their cultural heritage,” Cooper, the assistant director, hospitals and event coordinator, told Caribbean Life.
“Most of our residents are unable to go to the parkway,” she said, referring to the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade that takes place annually on Labor on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. “Therefore, the Parkway came to them.
“The awe-struck patrons were left wide-eyes and in smile as their loved ones walked the parade route to be judged,” Cooper added. “Everyone was in the mood of celebration.”
She said U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) attended the parade and “was elated to see what McKinney is doing for the residents.
“She thanked the staff and its leadership for upholding the dignity of the community’s most vulnerable population,” Cooper said.
Michael Tartaglia, executive director, “wholeheartedly supports these events because the residents are his priority,” Cooper said.
“We, at McKinney, believe that a part of caring for our residents is bringing the community they once were a part of to them,” Cooper said. “All these seniors were once persons who played active roles in their community, and the continuum of socialization is important to their well-being”.
Cooper said the residents — with assistance from the Recreation Department, under the leadership of Janet Larghi, associate director – made the costumes.
Staff also supported the event, as they volunteered to assist in ensuring that all masqueraders crossed the judges’ booth, Cooper said.
The four bands representing each unit were: Birds of Paradise, Forbidden Fruits, In Full Bloom and Wonders of Buccoo Reef.
King and Queen of the band were Allison Williams and Daniel Pascal from the band “Wonder of Buccoo Reef” from West Palm Beach & Sunflower Way Units.
“In Full Bloom,” from Poinsettia Lane and Rose Garden Grove Units, was adjudged Band of the Year 2016. The leaders of the band were Gail Nurse and Rodrigo Bermudez.
“Our residents’ happiness and their frame of mind are important to us; they are happy, and we are happy, too,” Cooper said.