GREAT FALLS — On Sunday, Highgate Senior Living coordinated a drive-thru parade for those mothers and grandmothers under their care, who couldn’t spend today with their families.
Families of the residents formed a line of cars within the Benefis Sletten Cancer Institute parking lot as they made their way to the front of Highgate Senior Living.
Residents watched happily as cars passed through, cheering ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ and waving their handcrafted signs.
Highgate Senior Living Life Enhancement Coordinator Shelby Shine said she wanted to make this year’s Mother’s Day celebration special. “We usually do a mother’s day brunch and since we couldn't do that this year, I wanted to do something very special that our residents will never forget,” Shine said.
The festivities meant a great deal to those with loved ones suffering from dementia, like Catlin Marcinek. “This is kinda the only way we have to tell her happy mother’s day and hopefully she can connect it...she probably isn’t even quite sure who i am but we’re gonna do it anyway,” Marcinek said.
Marcinek believes it’s important to make an effort in case her mom does remember. “Even though you think maybe they don't get it, she might get it..this just makes it a little bit more special, so she knows that we care,” Marcinek said.
Laura Buus’ grandmother also suffers with dementia. So, when Buus didn’t see her outside during the parade, she decided she would find another way to see her, even if it meant waving and yelling with her family, outside her grandmother’s window.
“There will be some times when we come to visit where they just say ‘no’-my grandma’s not willing to have us...Since we all were here and we haven't seen her in so long, we wanted to make sure she saw us and just that she knows we’re thinking about her,” Buus said.
After speaking with the staff, a staff member wheeled Buus’ grandmother outside so she could see her family. “It was super emotional for me, and my kids got to see her. And it was super awesome...I'm really grateful that they brought her down...and she was so happy when she saw us all and I'm just really happy that the staff saw that and accommodated us,” Buus said.
Buus added that the residents all enjoyed the parade and the opportunity to see the ones they love. “Everybody was just really excited. I know it was hard for them not to be able to touch and hug and all the normal things that you would do with your family members but they were very appreciative,” Shine said.
If COVID-19 restrictions remain in place for the seniors, Highgate Senior Living may hold another drive-thru parade for the residents on Father’s Day.