Weston Teen’s Let’s Talk Baseball Program Is A Hit With Seniors

Asher Jurman has been collecting sports memorabilia from the 1940’s-1960’s since he was ten years old. Over the years he’s enjoyed sharing his collection of baseball gloves, balls, bats, magazines and cards with his grandparents. The astute NSU University School junior noticed how much joy it brought his family members to reminisce about their younger lives while admiring his baseball memorabilia, so he decided to share his collection with other seniors, creating an outreach program called Let’s Talk Baseball.

“When I would visit my grandfather at his memory care unit, I would bring some of my collection because he loves baseball too and we used to go to games together,” explains Asher. “He always seemed to perk up just seeing my stuff. There were other residents, along with their caregivers, who were curious to see my baseball items. Some of the higher functioning seniors shared a few of their own baseball memories. I thought I could help seniors relive or remember some of their favorite memories, so I created this program, visiting assisted living facilities and memory care units.”

Asher has reached over 100 seniors to date. He says they all seem happy to have him there and engage with the program.

“I am not sure what parts appeal to them most, whether it is singing the Star Spangled Banner, trying on the gloves, eating Cracker Jacks, or revisiting some old baseball trivia, but there is a lot of participation and positive feedback,” shares Asher.

He believes the program has had the most profound effect on those suffering from memory loss. “I think it helps them connect to a point in time and brings back positive memories of when they were young. Whether they played baseball, snuck into a game with friends, or listened to a game with their family, seeing, tasting, and hearing the sounds of baseball does seem to elicit favorable feelings and memories.”

Asher says he gets as much out of the Let’s Talk Baseball sessions as the seniors. “Creating and delivering this program has been very rewarding. I can see how excited the attendees are to share their stories about the games they attended when they were younger and the players they closely followed. Recently, one gentleman in his late 80s rattled off the starting line-up from the 1950 Brooklyn Dodger game in probably less than a minute. It was beyond impressive.”

The program has been so rewarding and successful that Asher is now trying to expand it to connect more teens and seniors either through Let’s Talk Baseball or a more generalized Let’s Talk program.

“It’s really important for teens to look at seniors not as old people but as people who are just like them and led productive lives,” notes Asher. “We learn a lot about history from TV, the internet and in the classroom, but sometimes you can learn the most from people who actually had the experience.”