Prom aims to trigger happy memories for Barrington residents with dementia


Residents of the Memory Lane unit at The Barrington of Carmel senior living center recently enjoyed a blast from the past.

The residents took part in The Joy of The Journey, a prom event featuring music and dancing Aug. 16 primarily for those with memory issues and their spouses.

“A lot of our residents have relatives that live in the community or close by, so we wanted to create a good experience for the families to come visit,” said Sarah Lopez, lifestyles coordinator for memory support. “Especially with dementia, it’s difficult to have a good, joyful visit with them, so we wanted to create an event that would bring joy and closeness.

“Music always brings back memories and where you came from.”

Memory Care Coordinator Kayleigh Lyell came up with the idea for the event, which The Barrington wants to make an annual one.

“(Lopez) really helped put it all into motion for me and was my driving force,” Lyell said.

Lyell said 24 residents attended and that the event was a success.

“At the Barrington, our Memory Support is all about creating moments of joy for our residents, and one of everyone’s favorite past events happens to be prom,” Lyell said. “The dance floor was packed with residents and families, and almost everyone had family who showed up.”

Carol McAteer’s husband, Phillip, is in the Memory Lane unit. Phillip, 87, has dementia and short-term memory loss, McAteer said.

“I love (the event) already,” McAteer said. “It’s fun and different. I’ve never done anything like this before.”

McAteer said the couple has always shared their love of music. She said her favorite music is whatever Lopez sings. Lopez sings with The Barrington 5, which performs a variety of music. However, just a disc jockey was used at the prom.

The couple has lived in The Barrington for five years, but Phillip did not need to be in the Memory Lane unit at first.

Jack Krampe and his wife, Thelma, were among the attendees. Thelma, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, has been in the memory unit for three months. They will celebrate their 71st anniversary Sept. 5.

Krampe said their favorite music is from the Big Band era.

“We were teenagers during World War II,” he said.