Residents at Prestige Senior Living Rosemont were treated to food, music and entertainment as the facility held its first prom event on Saturday, June 17, at its location on Killion Road Southeast in Yelm.
Residents Bob Lane and Betty Knudtson were selected as the first ever prom king and queen during the event. Residents at the center voted and nominated Lane and Knudtson, who were finalists alongside Gene Myers and Kate Harris.
Robina Gaines, the executive director at Prestige Senior Living Rosemont, said the theme of the event was “Enchanted Garden.”
“We’re hoping that moving forward this will be an annual event, open to the public,” Gaines said at the event. “It’s something that we can celebrate as we’re at the end of the pandemic. We want to build up a relationship with the community.”
She added Prestige Senior Living Rosemont hosts other monthly events and noted they are always looking for “something fun” to host.
“Our regional director of operations actually mentioned the idea of a senior prom and opening it up to the community,” Gaines said. “We thought it was such a great idea.”
Prom was held outdoors at the Rosemont facility. Attendees had the opportunity to sit in groups at tables or in chairs placed near the entertainment setup. Gaines said the “treat table” was provided by Masonry Cafe and Jason’s Greenhouse brought the floral decorations.
Yelm’s Community Crossroad Covenant Church provided a “whole bunch” of gowns for the senior citizens to wear, Gaines added.
“We’re just wanting to mingle and dance the night away,” Gaines said. “Some of our residents have a balcony, so they’ll have VIP access.”
She added that 40 people “outside” of the center showed interest in attending prom, while all 79 residents were “really excited” for the event as they got “glammed up.”
“I just want to remind people that we’re not your grandma’s nursing home,” Gaines said. “I think a lot of times when people think of assisted living, they think of nursing homes and skilled nursing, but assisted living is fun and so is independent living. We love to have events, we’re a big community and a big family. It’s a great place to be.”
Shirley Rodger, who has been a resident at Prestige Senior Living Rosemont since November of 2022, was one of many residents who dressed up for the occasion.
“Tonight, I’m excited to see all the people that have come out from the community to support us,” Rodger said. “I think that’s great to see. I’m also excited to see all the hard work that the staff has put into making this event more comfortable for the residents.”
She also spoke highly of the staff at the center.
“The staff is awesome, the people that work in the kitchen — everyone has just been so wonderful,” Rodger said. “It’s been very easy for us to make the adjustment.”
Rodger said she is thankful to have found a home that promotes productivity and community involvement.
“There’s different events that they do. They try to do things that would be of the most interest to our people,” Rodger said. “I’m not a craftsy lady, but I learned to get some card games going. There’s some Jeopardy fans.”
Before Lane and Knudtson were crowned king and queen, attendees at the event had the opportunity to cast their votes on who should receive the crown. The pool of four candidates each had candidate biographies present at the voting booth.
Lane’s biography stated he was born in Wakefield, Michigan. After serving in the U.S. Army for three years, Lane worked “most of his life” as a manufacturing engineer. He described it as an “unbelievable” feeling to have been nominated as prom king.
One piece of advice Lane provided for others “just starting their life” is to “chase your dreams.”
Knudtson, the prom queen, was born in Spokane before moving to St. Menerey, Idaho with her family. Her biography stated she loves the Pacific Northwest area and gardening. Knudtson also said she was “thrilled” to have been nominated as prom queen.
One piece of advice Knudtson had for others was to “enjoy and have fun.”
Myers, the runner up for prom king, is originally from Loosbay, Oregon. He moved to Spanaway in his young adult years. He retired from ironwork in the Portland and Seattle areas, and eventually “fell in love” with motocross.
His piece of advice was “always eat good food.”
Harris, the runner up for prom queen, was born in Chehalis but grew up in California. She worked in sales throughout her life, selling cars, paint and carpets. Harris added she was the saleswoman of the month three times and said she enjoyed interacting with people every day.
Her piece of advice to others was, “go to school, get a good job.”