‘Start of a new tradition’

Published 9:36 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Valentine’s Day decorations and upbeat music greeted participants of the Heart Hop, held at Centra Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) at 1506 S. Main St.

Canes or wheelchairs did not deter elderly members of the community from dancing with representatives of PACE to “At Last” by Etta James, “Shake, Rattle and Roll” by Big Joe Turner, “My Girl” by the Temptations and “All the Single Ladies” by Beyoncé.

Participants also crafted heart-shaped ornaments out of salt dough and were able to take photos at a photo booth decorated with heart-shaped balloons and paper ornaments.

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Recreational Therapist Elise Hemmer said following the success of the Senior Prom, which took place in August, she checked with staff members about potentially holding another dance.

“The staff said we have to do another dance,” Hemmer said.

She said the Heart Hop has generated a lot of goodwill and a needed sense of community for the elderly participants.

“I think we started another tradition,” Hemmer said.

Phyllis Morris, who watched participants dance but was having no less fun, said she has enjoyed the event, the Valentine’s Day holiday and the opportunity to spend time with friends and loved ones.

“It’s just a heartwarming day,” Morris said.

She said she has participated in other events with PACE. She noted she missed the PACE events and people when she traveled to Vermont to spend a month with her daughter.

“I love it here,” Morris said.