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Kalamazoo assisted living facility holds family drive-by parade for residents

Vineyard Assisted Living resident Sally Platt looks on as her family members drive by with signs and hearts at Vineyard Assisted Living in Kalamazoo on Thursday, May 7, 2020. (WWMT/Sarah White)

Vineyard Assisted Living Community in Kalamazoo held a family drive-by parade on Thursday, May 7, 2020, for residents at the facility.

With a Texas Township firetruck leading the way, family members paraded their decorated cars, held signs, and honked their horns as residents watched from the curb. Jami Dykstra, the life enrichment coordinator at Vineyard Assisted Living Community, said with family not being able to visit their loved ones due to COVID-19, they had to get creative.

“I talked to their families and they miss them. They want to see them. We do social media to get them to see them but this was just a great way that they would be able to see their family,” Dykstra said

Also, in lieu of their annual memorial event being canceled due to COVID-19, residents let go of white balloons at the end of the parade to remember residents and loved ones that have passed away.

Sissie Nicholson, the daughter of Vineyard Assisted Living Community resident Betty Gully, said a parade like this meant the world to residents and her family.

“It’s just been so hard being away from your loved one and being away from my mother with her in isolation for seven weeks, it’s been hard for her and all of the residents here,” Nicholson said. “This meant a lot to them that somebody cared and families cared enough to come and show their love and support.”