'Adopt a Grandparent' program at local nursing home ensures no one is lonely for the holidays

GLEN MILLS, Pa. (WPVI) -- A nursing home in Glen Mills 'Adopt a Grandparent' program is working to ensure no one is lonely and everyone is loved, especially during this time of year.

As they trim the tree, you might not guess that Dean is new to the family, brought in by Joseph and Carol Perchetti as an adopted grandparent.

"My grandmother was in a nursing home for eight years, so I know there are people in nursing homes who don't visit or call," said Carol Perchetti. "We have extra time so we would like to help."

A Vietnam veteran who once worked at the Pentagon, Dean Egan's family is far away and his new adopted one is filling his life with love and companionship.

"Talk to them about what's going on the in the world. Teach them what you've learned in your old age," said Dean. "Just enjoy being with the people."

The connection was instant. The Perchettis started visiting Dean on Saturdays and quickly decided.

"We are going to bring him home for Thanksgiving," said Joseph.

A warm meal and a new family tradition.

"Let's get out there and help our fellow human beings. It's so rewarding-- you can't put it in paper," said Joseph. "You can't put it in a box or hold it, the warmth and joy I personally got out of this."

The Perchettis say there's something about the kind of wisdom only a grandparent can give.

"Sit down, talk for quite some time and compare stories: old military stories, family stories, even traveling. Where have you been?" said Joseph.

Sue Founds is the director of recreation at Brinton Manor. She's become a sort of matchmaker, creating a new meaning of family.

"It's the best thing ever," said Founds. "It makes you feel good and makes the person who receives it feel good."

Dean said, "It will enhance you-- mentally, physically-- and give you a reason for going on if you're down and out."

Founds said you don't have to Brinton Manor, you can go anywhere and create that bond with someone if you chose.

"I just say go to another facility and call the activity director and say 'Who can I adopt?' Because everybody needs to be loved," she said.

And Sue says while the holiday season is an important time to remember those around us, this is the kind of relationship that can develop at any time of year and just continue to grow.

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