Wilmot "Bin" Lewis: The Encourager
One day, Barbara Jones arrived home to find her long-time companion Wilmot "Bin" Lewis Jr. waiting, overcoat on, at the door. "I want to go home," he said as she stepped inside. Barbara paused. Bin was home. So was she. But she nodded. "Sure, let’s get in the car, dear. We can go drive around for a while."
Describing that day recently, Barbara credited the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Aging Resource Center in Lebanon, NH, for equipping her with the skills to gracefully manage the challenges of Bin's Alzheimer's disease and 2007 stroke.
Early on, they’d laughed their way through fitness classes at the center. Then there had been memory health courses, where they learned to structure and manage each day. And later, there were poignant caregiver support group sessions, where she gained perspective under the skilled guidance of chaplain Jeanne Childs.
"It was the difference," Barbara says, "between sinking or swimming."
Bin himself was an encourager who nurtured young journalists as publisher of the regional newspaper the Valley News. It's fitting, then, that the gift Bin made through his estate to benefit the Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging—which includes the Aging Resource Center—has helped to encourage others who face similar challenges as he and Barbara did.
Distributed after Bin's death in 2012, the funds have been a lifeline in the Centers' mission to improve the health and well-being of older adults and their families. The Center depends on charitable gifts to sustain its programs.
Barbara can attest to the power of excellent support. "Every time I went to the Centers," she says, "I felt like I was fortified and could continue."