Seniors Making a Difference at Cohen Florence Levine Estates

Joan Goldstein, Charlotte Moses and Ida Rudolph, residents of Cohen Florence Levine Estates Assisted Living, get together every day to knit. In truth, they do much more than knit; they talk, laugh, tell stories, discuss current events, and encourage other residents to stop by while adhering to safe social distancing guidelines. An added plus: The women donate all of their beautifully knitted scarves, hats, and headbands to such organizations as Boston Medical Center and the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea. To date, the ladies, who are about to turn 90, but look years younger, have knit over 60 items.

“We decided we had to do something to get through the pandemic,” said Joan Goldstein. “So I upped my knitting game once I moved into the assisted living.” A few weeks later, the Cohen Florence Levine Knitting Club was born. For Charlotte, knitting is akin to therapy. “It truly saved me,” said Charlotte. Ida, who learned how to knit in fifth grade with two pencils, loves that the club gets together every day to knit.

Joan, Charlotte, and Ida have strong ties to both Chelsea and Brockton. Joan and Charlotte met when they first moved to Brockton in 1953. The two became fast friends, as did their husbands; the couples socialized often and brought their children up together. They have remained been best friends since then, so it’s no surprise that they both decided to move into Cohen Florence Levine Estates. They were especially thrilled to find apartments on the same floor!

Charlotte and Ida were born and bred in Chelsea and their love for the city is obvious all these years later. “I don’t think we appreciated Chelsea when we were growing up,” said Ida. “The city has such a rich history, with landmarks such as Chelsea Creek, the Coast Guard Station and Cary House.“ The two women attended the Sherman School, Newman Junior High, and Chelsea High School. “I loved living in Chelsea,” said Ida, “To this day, I still remember every word of our high school songs.”

Each woman is accomplished in her own right. Charlotte has played the piano since early childhood, was the class prodigy and is an extremely talented musician. Joanie makes stylish jewelry, which she sold to women all over the the Palm Beach Florida area. Since she’s been at the assisted living, Joanie’s made stunning, one-of-a-kind bracelets for every member of the staff –more than 50 in total. Ida acted, produced, and starred in professional performances her entire life. “We’re all different,” admitted Charlotte, “but we complement each other really well.”

“Joanie, Charlotte and Ida bring such warmth and personality to our residence,” said Kristen Donnelly, Executive Director of Cohen Florence Levine Estates. “Their spirit, enthusiasm, and zest for living are an inspiration to staff and residents.” Adds Donnelly, “I look forward to seeing them together every single day.”

For their part, the women enjoy the camaraderie between the residents and staff. “It’s like one big happy family,” said Joanie. “There are always people to talk to and the staff is so kind and caring.”

Ida noted,  “We’re never lonely.”

When asked the secret to their longevity and good health, all three women were quick to respond. “Try new things and find something you love to do,” advises Ida. Charlotte alluded to the importance of exercise. “Daily exercise is critical,” said Charlotte. “Even walking the corridors every day makes you feel better.” Joanie shared her vision for the future. “Believe in the power of positive thinking,” said Joanie. “For me, I have a lot more to accomplish. I fully intend to live to 100!”

The women hope they inspire other seniors to make a difference in the community. “It’s important to give back,” said Charlotte, adding that if you can have fun while so doing, all the better. Seems like these three amazing women have found a way to do both.

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