Menno Place: Seventy-Eight Seniors Join in National Senior's Day Photoshoot - A Grand Success
"I had an idea to do something a little different," said Rylee Yurick, recreation staff at The Apartments. "I just didn't know it would grow to be THIS big!"
More than 75 seniors took part in the energy-filled day, many hearing the buzz about it from their friends and joining in throughout the day. The furniture was removed from the first floor lounge in Terrace East and the lounge was transformed into make-up, hair and photo stations.
Special thanks goes to the volunteers who gave their time to do the make-up and hair for our seniors.
Makeup was provided by two makeup specialists from Shopper's Drug Mart in Seven Oaks Shopping Centre. Makeup and hair provided by six students and one instructor from Gentebella Beauty Academy.
Photo Booth by Alison Priebe and Heather Spenst (Menno Place staff).
"This is really emotional for me", said one of the hairdressing students from Gentebella Beauty Academy, "I feel like we are giving such joy and helping people who are living history. I am so moved by these seniors."
The students at the Gentebella Beauty Academy were accompanied by their instructor. She shared how they had recently completed a book that focused on the power of kindness between each other. "What a perfect opportunity for the students to practice what they are learning about the power of kindess", she said, "This opportunity came at the perfect time in their schooling. Can we do it every year?"
Shopper's Drug Mart also sent two of their valued and skilled employees to volunteer for a day with seniors - what is the motivation? One of the volunteer makeup artists explained how she had recently lost her grandmother. They were very close and she was determined to give out of her love and remembrance of her grandmother. When the opportunity arose, she jumped at it.
"This day is so moving", she shared, "Everyone is having so much fun and it's so incredibly special that we can play a part in it."
Some of the seniors were shy about wearing makeup. One senior in her 90's confessed that she's never had any makeup on her face, "I want to try it before I die", she said. Others were fearful that they would be done up "to look like a clown". Instead, the professional makeup specialists chose colors and shades that brought out the beautiful features in the senior's faces.
Even the men got involved! They waited their turn and chose some of the props for the photo booth. Wigs, hats, fascinators, ties and picture frames created fun-filled photos for the seniors. All of the participants will receive printed photos and the digital files of their photos.
As is the practice at Menno Place, couples were supported in their participation. Several spouses walked over to residential care to fetch their loved one for the photos. They enjoyed an adventure with their loved one that will be accompanied by a memorable photo. "The photo shoot was fun," said a husband who supports his wife who suffers from dementia, "Thanks for all you are willing to do for us oldsters - it's just wonderful."
Staff from all over the Menno Place campus: Menno Home, Menno Hospital and The Apartments came to see what was happening. "Wow! This is what it's all about", said a member of the team, "This is what we do it for…. the residents, it's all for the residents." It was deeply moving to see the joy, the pride, the laughter and the appreciation from the residents.
The volunteers from Gentebella Beauty Academy and Shopper's Drug Mart were encouraged to guess the ages of the seniors for whom they were doing makeup and hair. When asked about one senior in particular, the hairstylist guessed she was 86. She is actually 105 - the oldest resident living at Menno Place, including Menno Hospital and Menno Home.
"What's the secret to your beautiful skin?", was overheard at the makeup station. "I'm a little bit English" was the reply. "Well, that will only help the Brits", another said with laughter.
"The day couldn't have gone any better", said Rylee Yurick, the organizer, "I'm just so so happy that we could give this to our seniors today."
Rylee followed up the day with a thank-you note to the volunteers and staff, "Thank you so much to everyone who helped put on our first National Seniors Day Photo Shoot!… to see this small vision come to life and see the residents beam with confidence. I cannot thank you enough."