Whether on the Broadway stage performing in La Cage aux Folles or in the living room of Savannah Court & Cove of Maitland, Angel Garcia knows how to please an audience. As the resident program director of one of the area’s premier assisted-living and rehabilitation facilities, the former musical theater performer has blended his passion for entertaining and engaging people with extraordinary compassion and respect for seniors, especially the residents at Savannah Court & Cove.
“I did some volunteer work when up in New York and came to love the senior community,” says Angel. “I enjoyed their stories and noticed over time how I was able to help even the cognitively impaired recall the best times of their lives.”
A Key West native, Angel describes the volunteer experience as lighting a path for him. He’d been contemplating retiring from a long, successful stage career, and suddenly he knew what he wanted to do for his second act.
Today, Angel can be found eagerly engaging residents at Savannah Court & Cove. He loves to see them smile and laugh.
“I must say hello at least 300 times a day,” Angel jokes. “These people are my friends, the people I work for, and they know I’m their advocate. They call me the fun maker. I tell them I’m here to create mischief and mayhem, and that makes them laugh.”
Whether it’s a new resident moving in, someone’s birthday, or a holiday, Angel’s motto of “any excuse for a party” gives residents multiple opportunities to socialize, make new friends, and create wonderful new memories. He is always looking for new and fun ways to enrich the quality of life for all of Savannah Court & Cove’s residents.
In the coming months, Savannah Court & Cove of Maitland plans to bring music therapy to its residents, as well. Angel is excited about working with residents, especially those with advanced dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as he has seen firsthand how music can help fight depression, help restore memories, and increase socialization.
“The mission of our activity department is to provide quality recreation for our residents, affording them the opportunity for self-expression, independence, stimulation, control, security, and creativity,” says Ray McCall, Savannah Court & Cove’s Executive Director.
Angel takes the mission to heart, measuring his success every day by the sounds of laughter and the smiles he sees on the faces of Savannah Court & Cove residents, the people he lovingly calls his friends.