Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Car Show.

A few weeks ago my fiance and I were invited to bring our 1965 Corvair to an Assisted Living Facility in West Seattle. Apparently, they throw a barbecue every year for their residents, residents' families, and neighbors of the facility. This year they were including a classic car show and inviting an Elvis impersonator to sing and perform. We agreed to do it gladly because it seemed the perfect mix of our classic car interests and my work with dementia and hospice. I pictured a little gathering at a mid size facility, maybe five or ten cars, and a few barbecues. I couldn't have been more wrong!

The facility was huge, one of the biggest I've seen, encompassing those who could still live independently, those who needed secure facilities, and nursing facilities. It was obvious they'd done this before, the set-up was huge: rows of chairs placed in the garden, some already occupied by residents; several tables packed with food trays and bowls, with huge barbecues behind them; and a full sound system! I would estimate that there were twenty to thirty classic cars, and easily more than a hundred people. It was something!

We enjoyed being out in the sun, and eating the fried chicken and cobbler with vanilla ice cream. We even enjoyed Elvis' performance-he was pretty good! But what we really enjoyed was chatting with all the elderly residents and their families as they viewed and exclaimed over our car. It seems like back in the sixties and seventies, everyone either had a Corvair or knew someone who did, and it was so fun to see our little car take these friendly people back to their child-or young adulthood, reminiscing about THEIR cars and their lives.

Everyone has a story, especially about cars they have had, and most people don't need much encouragement to tell them! It was so gratifying to see the older gentlemen come shuffling slowly by, aided by caregivers, watching their eyes light up to see our car and the other classics lined up. I loved watching families take care of their loved ones, and caregivers gently encourage residents to dance or sing along. I can't think of a better way to spend a sunny Summer afternoon, and it almost made me wish my Father was a resident here so he could share it with us.

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