Christian Health Care Adult Day Services Client Inspires Staff and Seniors
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Charlie D’Angelo with his daughter Roxanne
Christian Health Care Woodhaven of Wayne has several distinctive features. The medical day program, with an additional location in Wyckoff, offers health care, nutrition services, socialization, exercise, activities, pastoral care, and transportation. It also counts among its clients a true legend. Ninety-six-year-old Charlie D’Angelo holds the Guinness World Record for driving an ice cream truck for the longest period of time – 30 years. The Clifton resident, with his outgoing personality and artistic talent, inspires both clients and staff.
“Charlie is, for lack of a better word, awesome,” says Aimee Restifo, LCSW, the program’s Administrator/Social Worker. “He takes great pride in his World Record distinction. He has outfits for all the special events that we have here. He checks our calendar every night to see what events are scheduled for the next day so that he can dress appropriately. He has a great sense of humor and is such a wonderful person. He is always helping others and looking out for the other clients in our program.”
The availability of physical therapy led Mr. D’Angelo to Christian Health Care Adult Services of Wayne last spring. Here, individualized care plans, with input from the clients’ personal physicians, are developed so that seniors receive maximum benefits from the program.
“Dad had fallen and needed physical therapy. The social day-care program he was attending at the time didn’t offer therapy, so the staff referred us to Christian Health Care Woodhaven of Wayne,” says his daughter Roxanne D’Angelo.
Jamie Crowell, RN-BC, Nursing Director, assessed Mr. D’Angelo and recommended physical therapy to help improve his walking, gait, strength, and balance. He participated in therapy three days a week for nearly two months. Mr. D’Angelo also receives nutritional guidance from Joan Katz, RD, the program’s dietitian. He follows a gluten-free diet, so Mrs. Katz reviews the program’s menu with him, highlighting the gluten-free selections.
Christian Health Care Adult Day Services also helps keep Mr. D’Angelo’s mind sharp, as does his artistic endeavors, which he shares with staff and clients.
“Dad created sticker art for his ice-cream truck – Iggy’s Igloo,” Ms. D’Angelo says. “When he retired in 2009 he had amassed a sizeable collection of stickers. He started to decoupage flower pots with the stickers. Now he has a wide range of canvases.”
Mr. D’Angelo started delivering ice cream on a bicycle when he was 16. After he married his sweetheart Marion in 1945, he opened a butcher shop and a small grocery store in Newark, his hometown. Eventually he sold the butcher shop and passed on the grocery store to his grandson. As he approached 60 he wasn’t ready to retire, so he hit the road with an ice-cream truck – for three decades.
“I have a good life and a good family,” says Mr. D’Angelo, whose wife passed away a year and a half ago.
Now, Christian Health Care Woodhaven of Wayne benefits from his positive energy and joie de vivre.
“I give Christian Health Care Woodhaven of Wayne a score of 110!” says Mr. D’Angelo, who attends the program four days a week. “The staff is wonderful. They help you in every way.”