Methodist Senior Services

Traceway’s Lute Earns International Award

Posted in MSS News

Alice Lute’s habit of doing her little bit has gotten her noticed beyond the boundaries of Traceway Retirement Community in West Tupelo.
The retired teacher and Greenville native received the 2016 International Eden Elder Award {on May 4, 2016, in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the Eden Alternative International Conference}. She also won the talent competition with a “sit down”comedy routine {about aging issues and live in a retirement community}.
“She gets people out of their rooms,” said Dawn Steinman, Traceway director of retirement living. “She calls it doing her little bit.”
In the not quite three years since she moved into an independent living apartment, Lute has organized Sunday movies, started a newsletter and founded the River Rats club for Traceway residents who hail from the Delta. She serves as president of the garden club and vice president of the Traceway Manor residents council. She leads arts and crafts classes. She led a fundraising effort that netted $10,000 to refresh the manor’s lobby furniture. “She is always finding ways to help someone,” said Doris Ryan, who lives in the Traceway cottages.
Lute didn’t see the Eden Elder award coming.“People from all over the world were nominated,” Lute said. “I couldn’t believe I had gotten it. It’s such a great honor.”
It took a little arm twisting to get Lute to Little Rock for the Eden conference. “We were planning a rummage sale,” said Lute, who initially declined the trip. But then they asked again.“I said, ‘If you think it will be beneficial,’” Lute said. When I looked in the (conference) book, I saw I was nominated.”
The Eden Alternative, conceived by Dr. Bill and Jude Thomas, aims to create spaces where elders are valued and their lives enriched by attacking loneliness, boredom and hopelessness. It was widely adopted by Methodist Senior Services and other senior care organizations, first as a way of improving life in nursing homes and now in a broader effort.“I found it fit my whole philosophy of life,” Lute said. “Everything I do falls right into place with the Eden principles.”
Life of service - Lute’s life of service began early. “My grandmother raised me to think of others all the time,” she said.
Lute served as a Catholic sister for a short time before finding her professional niche as an elementary teacher. She lived on the Gulf Coast before moving to Tupelo 16 years ago, Lute said. She even volunteered at Traceway before she moved in.“I love to cook,” Lute said. “It started with cooking for the people on my hall.”
The cancer survivor rolls up and down the halls in a power wheel chair on her way to lead a class or visit a friend.
“Alice isn’t the type to sit still in her room. She’s out and about, making friends, helping others and doing whatever it takes to make Traceway a great place to call home,” stated Jon Stirewalt, Executive Director of Traceway Retirement Community.
“I am overwhelmed and highly honored by this award,” said Alice. “If it was not for the staff, that is open and unthreatened by allowing me to dream my dreams and bring them to reality, none of this would have happened.”