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Edna Weber Garden of Light Wing at the House of Welcome

November 14, 2016

North Shore Senior Center would like to extend a special "Thank You" to all of those who assisted with and made generous donations towards our Edna Weber Garden of Light Wing at the House of Welcome. Sunday, November 13, 2016, marked the completion of the Wing, which features a three-season porch that will be used in spring, summer and fall. Dr. Arnold ("Arnie") Weber and Jon Labaschin, North Shore Senior Center's major gifts and planned giving officer, worked together to raise funds for the Wing.

Edna and Arnie Weber were married for more than 60 years before Edna came to the House of Welcome in 2008, where she participated for many years. Arnie feels, to this day, that the House of Welcome is not just a sterile edifice where people come and go. Both Edna and Arnie felt that those who administered to the participants at the House of Welcome generated a sense of caring and tenderness that transcended mere daily routine. Edna looked forward to coming to the House of Welcome. Sadly, Edna succumbed to the ravages of Alzheimer's in 2014. 


Edna Weber's passion was gardening, which started at a young age while growing up on a farm. Throughout her life, "Edna carried with her the integral part of her personality which was associated with flowers," Arnie said while describing the connection between gardening and the Wing at the Sunday dedication event. Even while Arnie was the President of Northwestern University, Edna devoted her time to improving the landscape of Northwestern University's environment. Northwestern was later recognized for its thriving gardens, including the Shakespeare Garden.


Arnie at the opening of the Edna Weber Garden of Light Wing said, "Obviously with a farm, flowers were a significant part of her early experience from 10 years old and, as I knew during our 60 year marriage, it was an integral part of her interests and aptitude and capacity for empathy or artistic notions. Flowers were always really important, and if she was still living, I would accuse her of being a horticultural therapist."


What better way to remember Edna Weber than utilizing horticultural activities at the House of Welcome? Gardening activities are among the best ways to improve the emotional state of participants with dementia. Tending to plants decreases anxiety, creating and maintaining a garden engages gross motor skills. Furthermore, sitting in a garden setting offers mental and sensory stimulation. Gardening also creates a powerful connection to the past. The Edna Weber Garden of Light Wing at the House of Welcome will support participants' involvement in meaningful gardening activities, designed to enhance their well-being.


The House of Welcome's day program offers structured therapeutic, small-group activities in a comfortable, home-like setting. Participants with early, as well as more advanced memory loss, enjoy meaningful activities and friendships, while caregivers benefit from time to themselves.


The officers and Board of Directors of North Shore Senior Center wish to extend our sincere thanks to Dr. Arnold Weber for helping to develop the House of Welcome's Edna Weber Garden of Light Wing and to all of those who contributed.