SHEPHERD OF THE VALLEY With prom, facility gives seniors 'new beginning'

Shepherd of the Valley in Niles had its first prom in 1999.
NILES -- "Roll out the barrel, we'll have a barrel of fun!" sang residents and staff at Shepherd of the Valley in Niles at their tie-dye prom Friday afternoon.
Tie-dye pillars, streamers and balloons decked the chapel; blue wall coverings, flowers and a disco ball contributed to the atmosphere.
The DJ, from Shooting Star Entertainment, played "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra and other classic songs from Patsy Cline and the Drifters. More than 50 residents of the nursing home and assisted living sang, clapped and danced with staff.
"Now let me ask, how old are you?" the DJ asked one gentleman who hit the dance floor.
"21!" the man replied; residents and staff laughed.
Bill Mrus, 84, has lived in the assisted living facility at Shepherd of the Valley for two and a half years. "They're awful good to me," he said.
Mrus knows all the songs and kept his feet moving in time to the music while talking.
"Oh, heck yes!" he replied when asked if he was having a good time.
Kim Taylor, activities director for Shepherd of the Valley in Niles, said the residents had been anxiously awaiting the prom. Taylor said the prom is one of the activities that helps refute the myth that everything in a nursing home is gloom and doom.
"The thinking is that when you come to a nursing home, your life's over," she said. "We try to show them life isn't over. It's a new beginning."
Doris Logan, 83, has lived in the nursing home since September.
"We dyed our shirts," she said, sporting a brightly dyed tie-dye shirt that matched the decorations.
Logan said she appreciates the hard work the staff put into the dance, especially the decorating.
"They all work so hard," she said. "The decorations hit my eye the moment I came in."
Taylor said the first prom was in 1999 and inspired the residents to do more activity than they would normally do.
"It brings back a lot of memories for them," she said. "They remember the songs and they remember the dance steps."

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