A Day in the Life: Rehabilitation rumba

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Photo: Twin Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
Photo: Twin Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

When Mary Moreland was first pitched the idea of a dance competition for rehabilitation residents, she was hesitant.

Moreland, the director of rehabilitation at Twin Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers in Victoria, TX, wasn't sure residents would want to dance for a crowd.

But once Moreland, her staff and the residents got to picking out songs and creating choreography, “Dancing with the Stars – Rehab Style” took on a life of its own.

“Once we put on that music, they were ready to go,” Moreland said. “I was surprised at what hams we have.”

All levels of rehab patients participated in the May event, from those who can walk independently to those who use wheelchairs. The residents and their partners — many of whom were facility staff — took to the floor of the specially decorated dining room to the sounds of Willie Nelson and Aretha Franklin.

The event drew a crowd of families, other residents and judges pulled from the local community. Moreland said feedback was so positive she plans on making it an annual tradition.

Resident Elsie Bailey, who came in third place in the competition, is pushing for a repeat performance sooner than next year.

“It was unusual, and I think it turned out real good,” Bailey said. “It's what keeps us going.”