MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Three elders who live in a non-traditional part of a Mamaroneck nursing home celebrated two major milestones this month.
According to the folks at the Sarah Neuman Center, the celebrants were Peter and Virginia Day and Frances Russillo.
The Days – he’s 93; she’s 92 -- were marking their 75th wedding anniversary, while Russillo blew out the candles on her 100th birthday cake.
The retired policeman and school secretary lived in White Plains before moving to The New Jewish Home’s Sarah Neuman campus.
Coicidentally, Russillo’s late husband, Adolph, retired as Pelham’s chief of police.
She has eight children, 29 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren. And all of them attended her birthday bash, the center said.
The Days and Russillo all live in the facility’s so-called “Small House” homes.
The residences – really, large apartments – function according to the Green House model of elder care, a spokesman for Sarah Neumann said Friday.
This new model of care means that each unit functions as an intimate, supportive household in a separate wing of the campus.
Residents have their own kitchens and private entryways, giving them privacy and the option of cooking their own meals, the spokeswoman said.
There is a central kitchen, a communal dining room, and a living room with a hearth, as well.
The living space, unveiled in 2013, was part of a $6 million renovation project at the home and was called a “big step” towards its “planned transformation of skilled nursing care” in the New York metropolitan area.
Residents are able to form something of their own community and their needs and preferences, the home said, rather than operational concerns, are the focus of daily life.
The "Small House" communities are different than a traditional nursing home for the staff, too, so much so that they’ll are referred to by a special name – adirim , Hebrew for “nobles,” because of the nobility of their work (the singular is adir).
Russillo’s birthday party was hosted by the Friends of Sarah Neuman.
The volunteer group arranges and funds celebrations, outings and activities, including a twice-monthly tea for Alzheimer’s patients.
The group is led by the appropriately named Dorothy Sunshine, a New Rochelle resident who has helped bring joy to Sarah Neuman residents for more than 20 years.
The center is at 845 Palmer Ave. It can be reached by calling (914)- 698-6005.