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SENIOR PROM

­Brookridge Heights celebrates National Assisted Living Week with numerous activities, events

MARQUETTE — Senior proms aren’t just for high school seniors.

And attendees of Brookridge Heights Assisted Living and Memory Support’s special senior prom happy hour event had a chance to experience that firsthand earlier this month.

The prom, held Sept. 13, was complete with live music by the Deborah Bengry and Company Band, formal attire, corsages, refreshments, decorations and a sparkly backdrop for attendees to take commemorative prom photos.

A number of prom dates even showed up in uniform — local police, firefighters, military personnel and first responders were all available to dance and take photos with senior prom attendees. Friends and family members of residents also came out to enjoy the music, dancing, refreshments and other prom activities.

“I’m humbled by seeing how many people showed up,” Brookridge Heights Assisted Living and Memory Support Executive Director Jennifer Huetter said. “The family members that are here to support their loved one, all of our police officers and firemen and men in uniform that came to help support this, it’s really wonderful.”

Attendees were encouraged to dress up, with many wearing sequins and corsages to put a formal flair on the event. Residents made the corsages themselves at at workshop held the day before with Sarah Balding of Forsberg’s A New Leaf, organizers said.

The prom event took place during Brookridge’s weekly Friday happy hour, which gives residents a chance to socialize while enjoying live music and “mocktails,” said Lindsay Hemmila, director of sales and marketing at Brookridge Heights Assisted Living and Memory Support.

“This always takes place with entertainers coming in, but it was extra special today with the decorations and ballons and festivities,” Hemmila said.

The senior prom was the finale of a week of unique themed activities held for National Assisted Living Week, Huetter and Hemmila said.

“This is in celebration of National Assisted Living Week. And ‘A spark of creativity’ was the theme of the week, so we tried to come up with up a bunch of different activities for the residents that would be different and creative,” Hemmila said.

Each day of National Assisted Living Week featured a unique theme — such as “Tourist Day,” “Twins Day,” “Patriotism Day,” and “Hat Day” — and activities, including “The Millionaire Challenge,’ sing with your bingo, and a presentation by Dr. Jim Surrell entitled “My Four Favorite Classic Books.”

Beyond the numerous events, National Assisted Living Week is a “tremendous opportunity for all assisted livings to recognize not only the residents that live here, but also the staff that gives their heart and soul to our residents every single day,” Huetter said.

“I think the biggest thing to come out of it is to let folks know that assisted living, it’s about living,” she said. “Our residents are vibrant, they are having fun, they want to be connected, they want to be a part of something special. And that’s for both assisted living and memory support. Even if they have some memory loss, they’re still connected to the outside community and they want that engagement.”

For those who want to give the gift of time to Brookridge residents, Huetter encourages them to reach out about volunteer opportunities.

“If anyone ever wants to volunteer or be a part of assisted living, there’s a lot of seniors that would love the company,” she said. “If you want to volunteer, all you have to do is call our office, we’re happy to hook you up with our activities department and give you a lot of different opportunities to volunteer. We want to pull on people’s talents, so if you have a talent that you’d like to share with seniors in our community, give us a call.”

To learn more about Brookridge and volunteer opportunities, call 906-464-6747 or visit www.brookridge-heights.com.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.