Retirement ends Ridgewood activities director’s career
by Jennifer Cohron
Dec 18, 2010 | 1298 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Barbara Wallace will have to say good-bye at least 98 times before she retires at the end of the month.

That’s the maximum number of residents who can stay at Ridgewood Health Care Center, where Wallace has worked as activities director for nearly 18 years.

Wallace organized activities at Partlow State School in Tuscaloosa until her husband, an insurance agent, was transferred to Walker County.

Her sister was teaching a Bible class at Ridgewood and told her that the position was available.

Wallace said her years at Partlow, a mental health facility, gave her some experience entertaining older patients.

“I went to Partlow expecting to see children, but there were 60 and 70-year-old people there,” Wallace said.

At Ridgewood, Wallace keeps residents busy with reading time, trivia and reminiscing.

Special activities include regular Sunday services led by a local church, fall festivals, Mother’s Day luncheons and Father’s Day cook-outs.

Wallace also coordinates the health care center’s many volunteers.

She said her favorite part of her job is talking with residents.

“They love to talk about everything — their children, whether they had children, how many times they’ve been married,” Wallace said.

Wallace said that although she will miss interacting with so many people every day, she is ready for retirement.

She also knows that she will be coming back to Ridgewood regularly because her brother is a resident there.

Wallace isn’t worried about getting bored.

“I have two daughters, seven grandchildren and two on the way, so I know I’ll be busy,” Wallace said.