Admin
Menu
HEALTH STUDENTS HELP ASSISTED-LIVING RESIDENTS REKINDLE THE PAST AT ‘SENIOR PROM’
HEALTH STUDENTS HELP ASSISTED-LIVING RESIDENTS REKINDLE THE PAST AT ‘SENIOR PROM’
Posted on 04/22/2016
HEALTH STUDENTS HELP ASSISTED-LIVING RESIDENTS REKINDLE THE PAST AT ‘SENIOR PROM’Senior Prom 1
Bridges resident Aune Whitehair takes Sarah Maine, a sophomore from Pepperell, for a twirl during the “Senior Prom” that Nashoba Tech’s Health Assisting program held for residents of the assisted-living facility.

Senior Prom 2
Arianna Patenaude, a sophomore from Pepperell, wears some cool shades with Bridges resident Everett Rockwell during the “Senior Prom” that Nashoba Tech’s Health Assisting program held for residents of the assisted-living facility.

Senior Prom 6
Bridges resident Anne Lawson takes the lead while dancing with Nicholas Anderson, a junior from Chelmsford, during the “Senior Prom” that Nashoba Tech’s Health Assisting program held for residents of the assisted-living facility.

        WESTFORD — The years melted away for about 30 residents of Bridges by EPOCH, an assisted-living facility in Westford, as they danced to songs from their youth with today’s youth at Nashoba Tech's “Senior Prom.”

        The Hollywood-themed prom is a way for students in Nashoba Tech’s Health Assisting program to get to know the Bridges residents better — and a way for those residents, all of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other forms of memory loss — to hearken back to their younger days.

        The idea was spawned last year as the senior project of Nellie Ramos of Lowell, who returned for the second annual event, held in Nashoba Tech’s Viking Forum, and featuring a DJ, lunch and treats for the Bridges residents — and, of course, dancing.

        The students and residents already know each other because Health Assisting students go to Bridges, which is next door on Littleton Road, on a regular basis to help with the residents and keep them company.

        But seeing each other in a different atmosphere is important for all involved.

        “It’s absolutely wonderful,” said Abbi Laushine, life-enrichment 
director at Bridges. “The students get a different aspect from what they usually see. They see each other in a different way.”

        “It’s so good for the kids, for the residents, for the school,” said Health Assisting Instructor Theresa Ristaino. “It’s amazing. Some days, some of these kids are so shy they won’t even talk to me, but here they are, dancing, acting goofy, getting dressed up.
        “It’s the best thing I have ever done as an educator,” she added.

        Ramos — who is now a first-year Nursing student at Middlesex 
Community College and works as a certified nursing assistant at Chelmsford Crossings, an assisted-living facility — said she’s happy Nashoba Tech and Bridges “are keeping the tradition alive.”

        “It’s good to interact with each other in a different environment,” she said. “And it’s good for the residents to reminisce and remember the old days.”

        And reminisce they did, with most residents hitting the dance floor with students as their partners, and even forming a conga line at one point, as old-time rock ’n’ roll and big-band hits played.

        Ristaino said many programs at Nashoba Tech helped out with the event, including Culinary Arts, Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing, Engineering, TV & Media Production/Theatre Arts, Design & Visual Communications, and Banking/ Marketing/Retail. She added that the Westford Kiwanis Club and Westford Rotary Club donated to the cause.

        Health Assisting Instructor Vicki-Ann Poulin said that, since the theme of the prom was “Hollywood,” she felt “star-struck.”

        “The residents were looking forward to this so much,” she said. “The girls went over to Bridges to help them get dressed for the prom, and at 8:30 most of them were already dressed and ready to go.”

        All involved hope the “Senior Prom” continues every spring.

        “It’s a really nice partnership we have with Nashoba Tech,” Bridges’ 
Laushine said.