Bianca has volunteered and worked with the elderly for 12 years earning the State Platform Award for Community Service for her dedication to senior citizens. “Our world’s true natural resource, our living treasures, that is the best way I can describe our senior citizens,” she says.
Bianca was particularly honored when Health Care Associates, Inc. Executive Vice President, William F. Baxter, wrote this in a letter to her, “Thank you…for the opportunity to discuss some long-term care issues with you. I, as were others who joined us, was impressed with your enthusiasm, genuine concern for our residents and depth of knowledge about our industry.” [Click here for more: Giving Back]
Bianca’s main concern for many seniors is loneliness. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “the elderly population increased elevenfold between 1900 and 1994; the nonelderly increased only threefold. In this century, the rate of growth of the elderly population has greatly exceeded the growth rate of the population of the country as a whole.”
“The elderly population is large and growing. In 1987, 8.5 million elderly lived alone; by 2020, 13.3 million elderly will live alone.” (Dealing with Loneliness by Wm. J. Diehm) And “depression is epidemic among the aged. According to one study, 20-25 percent of the elderly in nursing homes are clinically depressed.” (Loneliness and Depression Afflicting the Elderly by Roberta Rand)
Bianca spoke of these topics in her TV program, Room with a View, and took elder needs to the state and national stages during her tenure as Miss Connecticut. In the late 80s, she joined a senior citizen’s singing group, The Happy Timers, whose members ranged from 65 to 92 years old. The group toured Central Connecticut bringing music to elderly residents in nursing homes. AARP requested Bianca’s membership not realizing she was only 23-years-old!
But again Bianca has taken her cause beyond the screen and stage and right into her own home. 16 years ago she and her family “adopted” a loving grandfather figure into their lives, “a living treasure,” she says. This lonely gentleman lived on his own, having lost his wife of nearly 50 years. His extended family lived 3,000 miles away and were thankful he had companionship. “For 16 years, my parents, my children, and my sister’s family simply adored him. When he passed away people said to us that we did so much for him, but in reality, it was he who was our blessing, our gift, our treasure. He graced our lives.”
Bianca’s wish is if you know someone who is older and living alone, or perhaps you visit someone in a nursing home, please take a little extra time and visit with them and another resident, too – it will make their day and feel good in your heart.