Classic cars take Bismarck nursing home residents on a trip down memory lane

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 4:13 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - It’s been a lonely couple of years for many who live in nursing homes. The pandemic forced homes to cancel events. Visitations were even limited, if not canceled altogether.

The good news: things are slowly returning to normal.

And for residents at Baptist Health and Rehab in Bismarck, that means a return to fun activities.

Jerry Miller knows a lot about cars.

“My dad was a Chevrolet mechanic in Mandan for 32 years and that’s why I’m so interested in automobiles of all kinds,” said Miller.

On this day, he’s getting a close-up look at some classic cars. Miller lives at Baptist Health and Rehab. This is the first big event they’ve held in more than two years.

COVID put a stop to events like this, but now, as restrictions are loosened, the staff here is determined to bring back

“They’ve been through so much and it’s just so special to us to be able to do this,” said Joan Danks, life enrichment director at Baptist Health and Rehab.

This includes dozens of classic cars, thanks to the Pioneer Auto Club.

“We like to go out to facilities like this because they enjoy old cars and we enjoy showing old,” said Don Rollaf, president of the Pioneer Auto Club.

June Aldrich is soaking up every detail of every one of these cars. She’s especially fond of this Studebaker.

“I had a 57 Studebaker,” she recalled.

Each car takes her a little further down memory lane.

“It makes you want to get behind the wheel and drive,” said Aldrich.

This ‘58 Ford caught Gaylen Boeckel’s attention.

“I’m a Ford man. And this is the 1958 Ford retractable hardtop,” said Boeckel.

“When they see something, it just, it really ignites that memory for them and it’s so special their stories that are coming out that I’ve never heard before,” added Danks.

Stories fueled by a few classic cars have brought smiles to their faces. And just like these cars, those smiles will never go out of style.

Danks says this is the first of many events they’ve got planned, now that COVID restrictions have relaxed a bit. Next up for the residents is an ice cream truck and live music.

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