Seniors take fashion week by storm

Belmont Village in Oak Park has started a fashion trend that’s catching on.

The Illinois senior living facility hosted its third annual fashion show fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association.

The show started as a way for residents with advanced memory care needs to give back to the community and has grown as word spread throughout the community. They even had to move the show itself from the third-floor memory care neighborhood to the first floor because they ran out of space, enrichment leader Lavada Evans tells I Advance Senior Care.  

“When I first started the fashion show, it was just to focus on memory care because they don’t often get a chance to leave the floor and do things other residents are involved in, so I wanted them to feel as comfortable as possible (while) getting them doing different things,” Evans says. “We made it a community event because last year assisted living residents came to the fashion show and they thought it was just amazing.

“Every year, it gets bigger and bigger with the help that we have from family members as well as staff.”

Twelve residents from each floor and three dogs sashayed and strut down runway roped with lights last week. They wore outfits with all that jazz for the show’s The Roaring Twenties theme. Even Freddie, the executive director’s dog, dressed to impress in a tuxedo.

Fellow residents, staff and family members purchased tickets to vote for their favorite looks. Evans hasn’t totaled the funds yet as the facility is also fundraising for a walk to end Alzheimer’s later this month. Evans is already planning another fundraiser for October.

Evans began meeting with her team in mid-June to plan the event. Residents helped pick jazzy tunes to accompany the models and family members helped shop for the runway looks.

“Sometimes [people] feel like because residents have dementia they don’t really understand, but you’d be shocked and amazed at how well they do with certain activities like making ribbons for breast cancer awareness month,” Evans says. “They’re very involved in making and selling them to staff.

“We try to do things outside the box that will keep their interest. We want to keep them engaged in activities because often, they’re not allowed to do a lot. We bring the fun to them.” 

Click the photo gallery to see some of the looks.

Topics: Activities , Alzheimer's/Dementia