When New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well (NJAAW) became discouraged by the minimal range of stock images of adults 60+, it decided to take action.
“Stock images of older adults 60 and over tend to be unrealistic, showing them as ‘super successful’ or enfeebled,” said NJAAW’s Executive Director Cathy Rowe, DrPH.
So the 24-year-old nonprofit launched an “Aging Great in the Garden State” photo contest, inviting NJ’s amateur and professional photographers to celebrate aging well. Photos were judged by a panel of NJAAW staff and Board members.
Manville resident Stephanie Gaber, ADC Escapades Producer at Brandywine Living, Princeton, captured first and third-place honors, and Burlington resident Cheryl Painter, retired Independent Living Concierge at the Masonic Village at Burlington, earned second place.
“The judges were impressed by all the submissions, but these three photos were particularly creative and evoked strong feelings of joy, past and present,” said Rowe.
Both winners received gift cards, had their photos on display at NJAAW’s recent 24th annual conference for aging services professions and they appear on NJAAW’s website at njaaw.org. Future use includes social media posts and promotional materials.
About Stephanie Gaber
Stephanie Gaber of Manville, NJ, said that she first fell in love with older adults while completing the clinical practice portion of her physical therapy program at college. “There was a nursing home nearby that I visited to see if I could be of help there as well. Shortly after I became nationally certified as an Activities Director and continued to work in the field.”
Gaber has been employed as an Escapades Producer at Brandywine Living at Princeton for the past 15 years. “As an Escapades Producer, some of my responsibilities include providing a calendar that is versatile, creative, social and educational. Taking photos and making new memories is one of my favorite things to do. Our residents love to explore new adventures and get involved in unique programs and photo shoots. They are always up for something different, and I am always up for the challenge,” Gaber said.
About Stephanie Gaber’s First-Place Photo
“In a discussion group, we were talking about the British Invasion that was a cultural phenomenon of the ’60s,” said Gaber. “Residents talked about how they remembered all the hype when the Beatles came to America. We discussed their iconic album cover, ‘Abbey Road,’ and I said let’s recreate the photo for fun.” Pictured, from left, are Brandywine residents Marion Carnaval, 84; Donald Stern, 97; Vincent Pierdinack, 85, and Kirt Wedemeyer, 94.
About Stephanie Gaber’s Third-Place Photo
“During a social, we discussed our husbands and wives and how we met them,” Gaber said. “Richard Snedeker said he met his wife in Sea Girt. She lived on New York Boulevard and used to love to surf. He said he called her ‘my little surfer girl.’ We then talked about the song by the Beach Boys and they thought it would be fun to recreate the album cover.” Pictured, from left, are Brandywine residents, Joe Savino, 85; Snedeker, 93; Vincent Pierdinack, 85; Donald Steen, 97, and Kirt Wedemeyer, 94
About Cheryl Painter
Cheryl Painter of Burlington, NJ, served as the Independent Living Concierge at Masonic Village in Burlington for eight years. She retired in 2019 to be “a full-time grandmother babysitter for three grands under three.”
An artist, Painter created the butterfly mural in her photo, which features her mother, Blanche Baldorassi. “I collaborated with The Dime Art Studio in Burlington City to paint the interactive monarch wings because I raise monarchs and have an official monarch way station/habitat in my yard. I educate about and support these select butterflies that migrate to Mexico because it’s my passion,” Painter said.
About Cheryl Painter’s Second-Place Photo
Cheryl Painter’s mother, Blanche Baldorassi, pictured, is now 94. “She’s 4′ 11″ and a spunky little thing,” Painter said. “My mom is a free spirit, always up for adventure and loves to fly in planes, go to the beach and visit all our family in five different states. My mother released one of my monarch butterflies a few years ago and was thrilled to experience it. Mom is staying active playing Scrabble daily − no one beats her at Scrabble − and always trying new things. At 90 years old, she parasailed in Lake Tahoe – her idea. The woman doesn’t say no to any opportunity.”
About NJ Advocates for Aging Well
NJ Advocates for Aging Well (NJAAW, njaaw.org) has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the aging experience since 1998. It is the only statewide nonprofit focused solely on providing leadership in public policy and education to enable older adults to live with independence and dignity in their communities. NJAAW’s social action issues include senior housing and hunger, elder economic security, the direct care workforce, older workers and transportation. The award winning Aging Insights, a monthly topical TV program produced by NJAAW, connects caregivers, older adults and their families to community-based services and resources. The show is available on NJAAW’s YouTube channel and website, as well as public-access stations across NJ (check local listings for channels and times). Aging Insights is now also a podcast. Find it on your favorite podcast app as “Aging-Insights-NJ.” Follow NJAAW on Facebook and Instagram @njadvocatesforagingwell and Twitter @njagingwell.
Source: New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well
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