For most people, prom night is a once-in-a-lifetime milestone, to be locked away in the vault of memory and nostalgia forever. But at Life Care Center of Rhea County, in Dayton, TN, some lucky residents got the chance to experience the magic of prom all over again for one special night.
The men slapped on ties and moussed their hair, the women donned beautiful dresses and got their makeup just right, and everyone slipped into the spirit of festivity as they prepared for an exciting night of dancing and fun.
“We wanted to give the residents something to bring them together post COVID. We wanted the residents to feel special,” said Crystal Brown, Social Services Director at Life Care Center of Rhea County.
According to the staff, the residents had been asking for some kind of dance event for a while. But the staff thought they could give them something even more special and memorable: a chance to relive some of their most meaningful moments, and create new ones, with a genuine prom night.
“The week leading up to the event, so many residents were excited and that's all you heard about when walking the halls. They lined up and down the halls waiting for the dining room doors to open. They were so surprised that we decorated the dining room for their prom!” said Kayla Millard, Director of Admissions and Business Development.
Once the celebration was underway, the residents danced and smiled and enjoyed mocktails and various snacks. The staff even participated, encouraging the residents to let loose while giving them the assistance and support they needed to dance the night away.
As the night reached its pinnacle, everyone gathered for the announcement of Prom King and Queen. Residents William “Bill” Owensby and Evelyn Johnson were crowned king and queen, much to their surprise and delight. Evelyn was so shocked and overjoyed that she cried.
“I really loved seeing the smiles on all of their faces. I love my job and seeing them happy reminded me of how much of a blessing it is to work here,” said Kayla.
Along with the staff at Life Care Center of Rhea County, generous community partners also stepped in to help make this an unforgettable night for the residents:
Amedisys Home Health provided and served mocktails. Hospice of Chattanooga provided the corsages and boutonnieres. Bledsoe County High School and Dayton Chamber of Commerce donated dresses, as did some of the Life Care staff.
Hearth Hospice brought fruit bowls from Mejia’s. ContinuCare Home Health donated beautiful decorations. And The Haven Beauty Room volunteered to do the residents’ hair and makeup.
The night was such a success that the facility decided to make the prom an annual event, which was welcome news to all the residents who attended.
“I hope we get to do this again,” said one resident. “It really made me feel young again.”