Every Time An Old Person Dies, A Library Burns To The Ground

A couple years ago I filmed an episode of my show, The Hook-Up, in The Bronx where Goose Gossage helped me create a New York Yankees-themed room for the Hebrew Home at Riverdale. This establishment houses over 800 seniors, and when I heard about what they do, I knew it was a place where I could make an impact.

I wanted kids to have somewhere they could go feel comfortable when they visited their grandparents at the home--a place where everyone could enjoy the team they love while getting to spend time with each other.

Younger generations should always spend time with their grandparents and older relatives. There's such a wealth of knowledge there from life experiences and a lot to be learned from.

When an old man (or woman) dies, a library burns to the ground.
- African proverb

Maybe today is the day you call your grandparents to simply say hello, and try to learn as much from them as you possibly can.


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  • When I was in the 5th Grade our teacher did a class project where each child in the class had to volunteer for 20-hours at a choice of about six places. One was the Nursing Home where my great-grandmother had just been forced into (she didn’t like that idea one bit and I felt awful for her). So of course I volunteered at the Nursing Home. After the 20-hours passed I continued volunteering for a couple of months every day after school for 2-hours. I enjoyed talking to these people and I loved learning so it was a perfect match. Eventually the Director Of Nursing called me into her office and told me “You are too young to be spending all of your time here, you should be out playing with your friends.”. She actually forced me to resign. What she didn’t know is that I had no friends because I was libving with my mentally ill mother (Borderline Personality Disorder) and refused help. So “home” was HELL for me as well.
    My very first job was working for Medtronic as a Transtelephonic Pacemaker Testing Technician. So here I was again helping elderly people test their pacemakers over the telephone. I often spent extra time talking to lonely ptients and some bosses gave me a hard time for this. So I started testing more patients than anyone else out of (40) Technicians & Technologists and was the first Technician advanced to Technologist in less than a year due to my error free production. This also allowed me the free time I wanted to spend with those who needed it. I what was perceived as a problem into a win/win situation. I loved that job and would have stayed if they had realized what they had. But since they didn’t I moved to FL and enjoyed 5-years there, but never left the EKG Interpretation field mostly working with elderly people which I enjoyed immensely.
    Those who don’t take advantage of talking to the elderly are stunting their own progress and I hope maybe some will now learn what they are missing!

    James McCay on

  • I’m the COO of the Aging in New York Fund, the non-profit arm of the NYC Department for the Aging. I follow you on FB. You’ve even responded to my comments.

    Could we talk?


    Lenore Glickhouse on

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