It was a cold winter day, but residents of Heritage Pointe of Fort Wayne, IN, were in for a nostalgic event with a summertime mood. When they were snowed-in from their usual January outing, staff came up with the idea to put on a drive-in themed movie night for residents of the facility’s memory care unit. 

Beth Barcus, Heritage Pointe’s activity assistant, was the “mastermind” of the event, according to Activity Director Christina Murphy.

“We try to take our residents out about once a month, but, being in Indiana, you can never count on what the weather is going to do,” Barcus said. “Instead of taking them out, I thought why not bring a drive-in to them — something from their childhood or that they experienced with their kids.”

Twelve residents attended the event and were welcomed by movie-themed decorations, hot-rod props to flesh out the drive-in feel and movie concessions for everyone to enjoy — such as popcorn, soda and candy. The snacks were even made to order by staff and delivered in customized trays that made them easy to hold. 

“Because we have a smaller memory care unit,” Barcus explained, “we were able to customize the snacks to what everyone liked.”

The hot-rods — a throwback to the era of “Grease” — were Murphy’s idea and seemed to be popular with residents as well. 

Of course, as far as the residents were concerned, the centerpiece was the movie itself — a showing of “Dennis the Menace,” adapted from the classic comic strip that debuted in 1951. 

Barcus said the event was such a success that she and Murphy have plans to run it again on a larger scale.

“We’ve suggested doing another one and opening it up to the whole building,” she said. “I think it would be a hit.”

For more stories about the brighter side of long-term care, take a look at our coverage of a theme park rented out for care workers and their families.