News, Waterford

A special night for snazzy seniors

Jackie Taylor, prom queen, dances with Elder Care activities director Katelyn Winski during a June 21 at the facility (Jason Arndt/Southern Lakes Newspapers).

Elder Care assisted living facility holds prom for residents

By Jason Arndt

Residents of Elder Care Cottages in Waterford took a step back in time last week when they danced to classic tunes and enjoyed camaraderie with others during the assisted living facility’s first-ever prom.

Elder Care, a 60-bed facility with four cottages, saw more than half of its residents participate in the June 21 event, with some waltzing alongside family members who came out to show support and join the fun.

Activities Director Katelyn Winski, who helped coordinate the event, said there was one simple objective for the prom.

“I wanted to make it very special for them and that was my goal,” she said.

The residents that attended did more than just show up. They came dressed in classic tuxedos and dresses, complete with corsages and boutonnieres, and savored the music presented by a live DJ.

“It has been a blast. They are having so much fun. I am even getting emotional seeing their smiles,” Winski said. “Everyone was dancing.”

The best part, she said, was family members getting out there and dancing with their loved ones.

“It is very touching that we have so many family members that are supportive of us,” Winski said. “They wanted to come and join us and have fun.”

Nikki Emanuele, Community Relations Director for Elder Care, coordinated the event with Winski.

She agreed with Winski, and said she rejoiced at seeing participating residents dressed in formal wear.

“The prom turned out better than what we could have imagined. The residents love being all dressed up, having their hair done and make up on,” Emanuele said. “The families came and they enjoyed it.”

Months of planning
Emanuele said the idea for a prom began as a simple discussion during a staff meeting several months ago.

During the meeting, many staff members shared their experiences from other facilities, and Winski brought up the idea for a prom.

“Katelyn brought it up, and our administrator said ‘Go for it,’” Emanuele said.

From there, Elder Care reached out to families, businesses, and local organizations seeking support for the prom.

Elder Care officials said they received contributions from many organizations, including Waterford Union High School – which donated prom decorations, The Haylofters theater group in Burlington – for dresses, and Mealy-Stencil Funeral Home – which contributed floral arrangements and photography services.

The prom received additional contributions from BUSIAS XOXO, Heartland Hospice, Badger Hospice, and Moments Hospices, as well as assistance from Amargost and Raboine families.

“Everybody that was asked for donations and entertainment was very receptive,” Emanuele said. “It was kind of overwhelming.”

Winski said Elder Care caregivers as well as residents’ families played a key role in facilitating the event.

“I just wanted to give a shout-out to all the families that came to support us,” she said, explaining that some families donated snacks and refreshments.

“The caregivers have been a phenomenal help here. They came on their time off to help out with the prom,” Winski added.

Emanuele said she believes the prom will become a tradition at Elder Care based on feedback from residents.

“Several residents had asked if we could do it again next year,” Emanuele said. “We will definitely do it again.”

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