The elderly need no one to tell them what is right. They may do it slower, but they didn’t reach their age without having any good solid experiences.
That is the concept behind “Live Life Your Way” a photo exhibit opening at Riverview Towers Dec. 10.
It’s not easy to become older.
“I see people struggling [when] walking,” said Hanna Steiner, director of Riverview Towers. “I see people losing their friends. I see people losing things that matter — their health, sometimes their ability to think coherently, but nevertheless, the warmth that comes from the people is so unique and I wanted to tell their story.”
Steiner helped guide the two tower complex through a seven-year modernization process that was funded by the United Jewish Federation and Ladies Hospital Aid Society and Federal Home Loan Bank and Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency.
The towers now have walk-in showers, fire sprinklers and grab bars. Some of the apartments are now ADA compliant (meaning fully accessible). Tenants have filled the newly renovated units.
“Now we have the population that we care about,” said Steiner. “I come to work every day and I am inspired by these people.”
When the renovation was nearly complete, Steiner met with Lisa Premo of the United Jewish Federation. They developed the concept of “Live Life Your Way.” Photographer Chad Evans Wyatt of Washington, D.C., and local designer Karen Kornblum Berntsen produced the photo exhibit of the tenants of Riverview towers.
So far the exhibit has evoked emotional responses.
When Kornblum Berntsen temporarily moved the photos off the walls for repositioning, tenants approached Steiner and other Riverview staff asking, “What did you do with my picture?”
There were other questions. “What is going to happen to the pictures of people who are no longer at Riverview Towers? Are you going to put them on a separate wall? Are you going to take them down?”
“It was a wow moment for me,” said Steiner. “This is our family. They are part of us. Whether they are physically here are not,” she said with tears welling up in her eyes.
These are the photos she and the Riverview community want to share with our greater community Dec. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. There will be refreshments and photographer Chad Evans Wyatt designer Karen Kornblum Berntsen will be there to explain the project.
(Dev Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)