Iowa Falls, IA: From The Rear-View Mirror

Our town really goes all out for the 4th of July celebration with rides, shows, and attractions. A parade through town draws thousands outdoors and the holiday is topped off with several bangs of beautiful fireworks. Yep, our town really knows how to get down for Independence Day! The trouble that we have is most of our residents either can’t handle the hot and muggy mid-western heat, or the places we would like to take them are not handicapped accessible.
This year was a bit different for us. We entered our care center bus into the parade and grabbed the residents that wanted to be a part of the festivities. Most did it reluctantly because riding in a parade doesn’t sound too exciting, but they wanted to get out for the 4th. Wednesday rolled around and we saw beautiful sunshine and high heat advisories until an hour before the parade started. Without a lot of warning, blue skies gave way to black clouds and many were concerned the parade would be canceled. But the torrential downpour ceased and through random sprinklings of rain we made our way through the streets of our town. That’s when an amazing thing happened for our residents.
People of all ages waved and said hello from the curb as we passed by. From the rearview mirror I got to witness ho-hum looks of boredom transform into amusement and eventually face-swallowing smiles. I drove with the doors to the bus open so residents could say “hi” to whomever they saw they knew, but none of us were expecting the welcome that the town gave them. We weren’t even passing out candy!
I overheard one of our ladies say excitedly to another, “That little boy said hello to me!” In that moment I felt my heart lurch and my eyes water with tears. Our residents’ generation are some of the most marginalized people in our country. All too often grandmas and grandpas or moms and dads are placed away in a care facility and forgotten about or families try but cannot come as often as their loved one needs. The residents have all felt at one time or another that they don’t matter anymore, that the world has gone on and left them behind, that they are simply waiting to die. The looks on the faces of my passengers Wednesday afternoon told a different story, if only for a moment in time. They were a part of it all. They were no longer invisible. The world was happy to see them, and the “hello” the little boy expressed to our lady was all the confirmation any of them needed.
If you ever get the chance to drive in a parade rather than being a spectator, do it! It’s a completely different experience, especially when you are riding along with the amazing people.

Quality Life:  We will create a living environment that radiates love, peace, spiritual contentment, dignity and safety, while encouraging personal independence.

Submitted By:

Shannon Crawford, Life Enrichment Assistant

Heritage Care Center, Iowa Falls IA