Residents and staff celebrate prom at Somerset Healthcare and Rehabilitation

Residents and staff celebrate prom at Somerset Healthcare and Rehabilitation

SOMERSET ― Residents of Somerset Healthcare and Rehabilitation wore sparkly dresses and button-up shirts, corsages and wrist boutonnieres, took photos in front of floral backdrops and danced around palm trees, balloons and tropical flowers at their recent high school prom.

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For many residents, it was their first ever prom experience. For Kerri Hahn, a registered nurse assessment coordinator, it was a chance to fulfill a promise and make her last day at the long-term care facility a happy one.

I’m going to the prom

Hahn and her prom date, regular Bob Friedline, were named king and queen of the “Paradise at Prom” event, held June 28 at the resort at 228 Siemon Drive in Somerset.

“(Going to prom) has been a running joke between us since I got here,” Hahn said. “So after five years, I finally got to take him to prom.”

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Hahn said the decision to leave Somerset Healthcare and Rehabilitation to work remotely was difficult, but she wanted her last day with the residents and staff she calls family to be joyful, not sad.

“Diane and April, who organized the whole thing, asked me what I wanted for my last day, and I said I wanted the prom so I could take Bob with me. So they organized the whole thing,” she said.

“It’s very hard to leave because it’s one of the best places I’ve ever worked. The staff here are amazing, as are all the residents. I’ll miss them so much, I hope I can come back and visit them.”

“Very good energy and lots of love”

Administrator Amy Handwerk said the staff got to work right away, planning the event, choosing a tropical theme and searching for formal and party dresses at garage sales and thrift stores. Men brought shirts and ties, and the activity room became a formal wear store where residents could come and pick out a dress or shirt they wanted to wear to prom.

Each participating staff member asked a resident to be their prom date, and many couples chose matching outfits for the event. People in the community donated dresses and made corsages and boutonnieres, and other health care agencies also provided support by providing refreshments and volunteers to do residents’ hair and makeup for the prom, Handwerk said.

“It was such a good experience for the people here,” she said. “So many people came into it with such good energy and so much love.”

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Hahn said the residents love to dance, so hosting the prom was a nice way for her to spend her last day with everyone at Somerset Healthcare and Rehabilitation.

“It was so sweet, so nice, and I think the residents love it,” she said. “They’ve never had a prom here that I know of. They’ve had all kinds of events, but this is the first prom since I’ve been here. It means a lot, and I’m going to miss them so much. We’re their family, and they’re so much fun.”

“It’s like a family thing. When you come here, it’s family, so it’s so nice to celebrate everyone, not just me leaving or anything. I think they had a great time.”