Maybe it’s just wishful thinking

“To make the world a nicer place to age, one wish at a time.”

This is the grand vision of the TWILIGHT WISH FOUNDATION: turning seniors’ wishes, unfulfilled dreams, and experiences they’ve always yearned for into reality.

“We have a lack in our country of showing those who have paved the path for us that we care,” Twilight’s founder told USA Today, “I wanted to change that.” Since 2003, TWILIGHT has fulfilled nearly 2,000 wishes.

FOREVER YOUNG SENIOR VETERANS takes World War II veterans, who can’t do it alone, on a “trip of a lifetime” to pay their respects at WWII sites.

Riverside County’s SHOW (Seniors Having One Wish) Board consists of senior-care professionals whose first bequest was to a 91-year old gent who wished he could visit his wife’s gravesite for the first time in seven years. The cemetery was only 25 miles away.

The inspiration for SENIORS HAVE DREAMS TOO was a skilled amateur artist living in a senior care facility who never had her own art exhibit. The foundation arranged a one-woman art show with a Champagne reception. She even sold two of her works!

“When you’re dealing with seniors and their hearts and something they’ve always wanted,” said a foundation founder, “you never know what you’re going to get.”

Another elderly woman wished to taste a chocolate malt like she used to enjoy at the corner ice cream parlor.

A 70-year old in the latter stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease had a wish to explore the world. One month later, thanks to social media, he received 1,400+ postcards from more than 65 countries!

A senior wished for a new electric scooter — so he could take his aging canine companion for one last walk.

One centenarian had her birthday wish granted with a ride in a hot air balloon.

Some of our own community’s seniors were recently asked about their one wish.

One dry-docked beach baby, raised a block from the ocean, wishes she could live near the waves one more time.

Another yearned to reunite with her cousins in Arizona whom she hasn’t visited for 51 years.

One 90-year orphaned senior’s wish was the security of knowing that as she gets older she will always have a home. As a new resident of the Golden Inn & Village, her wish came true.

I would wish for the chance to see everybody in kindergarten class. They’d all have to wear name tags, though, since I’ve not been in contact with a single one of them. But I’m curious how they turned out.

I confess, I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions — they are too much about me, myself and I.

But I love the idea that wishes are dreams we can fulfill for others.

Although if I WERE to make a New Year’s resolution it would be to ensure that in 2017, we view our glasses as half-full — of good ol’ Valley vino! Cheers!

Until next time … keep thinking the good thoughts.

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at info@ronabarrettfoundation.org. The opinions expressed are her own.