Elvis at The Arbors

Bill Chrastil performs an Elvis tribute at The Arbors while residents rock to raise money for Alzheimer's research.

The rocking commenced at 8 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m., and, in between, there were doughnuts and coffee and snow cones and a man in a silky shirt with a white guitar and a microphone.

“We have Elvis here right now so the room is crowded,” explained the front-desk greeter at The Arbors.

Wednesday was Seniors Rocking for a Reason day at the Alzheimer’s care home in north Lincoln.

And they were rocking to raise money for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s coming up in September.

Something none of the 32 residents at The Arbors could reasonably do.

“We always donate, but we wanted to do something,” said activities director Michele Carlson. “It’s about them, how do we include them?”

Last year, they decorated rocking chairs to auction off -- including a child-sized version painted by one of the residents -- and raised $7,000. They made it a party, with invited guests and residents spending the day rocking and talking.

Elvis impersonator Bill Chrastil -- a “Havelock boy,” said Carlson -- made an appearance last year and was such a hit they brought him back Wednesday for an encore.

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But instead of painting chairs to raise money again, residents and staff tie-dyed T-shirts, decorated flower pots and filled them with soil and succulents.

“They loved it,” Carlson said. “Believe it or not, they loved doing the rubber bands for the tie-dye.”

The process of readying themselves for Wednesday’s party was a big reason they decided to do more than cut a check and mail it in.

“It was like company was coming,” Carlson said. “One of ladies said, ‘I’m helping, aren’t I?’”

Before Elvis ended his gig and the rocking chairs stopped rocking, staff members danced, and residents’ hands tapped time.

“I want you to think if you’ve ever been on the dance floor kissing,” the fake Elvis told his audience. “If you have, raise your hand.”

And then the sound of “Strawberry Hill” filled the room, and hands slowly raised and began waving in the air.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7218 or clangekubick@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @TheRealCLK.



Cindy Lange-Kubick joined the Lincoln Journal Star in 1994 and has loved covering life in her hometown ever since. Will write for chocolate. Or coffee.

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