Skilled nursing residents put on dancing shoes for (another) senior prom

The Grand Nursing and Rehabilitation Barnwell residents “cruise” in a 1931 Ford Phaeton during their “senior prom.” Photo courtesy of The Grand Nursing and Rehabilitation Barnwell.

It turns out high school seniors are not the only ones who get to go to prom. That’s the case at least if you are a “life” senior and a resident of one of The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing facilities across New York state. 


Each of its communities recently put on a nostalgia-tinged bash for its seniors, complete with their own prom dresses and suits and ties. At Barnwell, they received some materials from The Grand’s corporate headquarters to stimulate brainstorming and let the staff do the rest of the planning. After a few weeks of ordering supplies and decorating, the staff was ready to get this show on the road … literally. 


“We had a family member of one of our residents bring in a 1931 Ford Phaeton that we put out front with a red carpet for an incredible photo shoot! Residents were able to get in the car, have their photos taken and reminisce!” said Bridget Delcoure, activities director at The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell via email. “The old fashioned car was a huge hit! We then had a red carpet for all residents to go down to show off their beautiful and handsome prom looks. Without the team work from all departments none of this would have been possible!”

Residents at The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell dance at the facility’s “Senior Prom” night. Photo courtesy of The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell.

Residents were chaperoned by the staff, who also dressed up in prom attire. There was no need to worry about attendees sneaking in booze (probably) — patrons enjoyed tasty mocktails. As they swayed to the music of their youth, members of each community crowned a prom king and queen at the end of the night. For some, the dance might have been a chance to relive the glory days. For others, an opportunity to redo an unsatisfactory prom experience of decades ago. For many, it would be a night they wouldn’t forget for a very long time. 


“I have been an activities director for 10 years and this event was something very magical and special. It’s hard to put into words how meaningful this was to the residents and how thankful they all were,” said Delcoure. “They honestly brought me to (happy) tears and it is still a topic of conversation most days. It was very rewarding to give our residents a prom experience as some had never been to prom.”