A slice of the past happened recently just outside of the Life Care Center of Valparaiso. On Friday, Life Care Center of Valparaiso hosted its annual car show with the Winamac Old Auto Club. The center has been hosting the show for more than 10 years.
“We love doing the car show,” said Angela Monahan, director of business development for Life Care Center of Valparaiso. “It really does bring in the community and surround our residents with so much love and happiness. They get to come out and reminisce. It really makes everybody happy.”
There were all kinds of vehicles with most of them being older vehicles, such as a 1966 Ford Mustang, but a few newer cars were also on display.
“There are cars here from the early 1900s to modern; the newest cars are from 2018,” said Gregory Simms, Porter County council member. “They have over 100 years of cars here in different colors and makes and models, and there are some of these people who want to come in here to relive the past.”
A blast from the past is an allure of the car show, especially with the memories that the community’s residents have with some of the cars.
“Not only does it let us really hear stories, it triggers people and makes them think about past memories,” said Monahan. “We actually had a resident out here who saw that the car is a 1930 car and she said, ‘That's the same year I was born.’ She just started reminiscing about all the things that she's done. She knew about the different cars that were here. It is cool to bring the classics to the classics.”
Not only did the auto club members bring cars, but some of the Life Care Center’s staff also brought their rides.
“The residents see one side of me, but when they see that I have the old classic cars, they relate more to me because I respect their timeframe,” said Jamie Janeczko. “I respect their air, and then you get more of a bond with them as well.”
The Winamac Old Auto Club started in 1950 with seven people at a gas station in the town. Club President Glen Ewen has been a part of the club for 28 years, and they have been doing events with retirement communities like Life Care Center and StoryPoint Chesterton.
“We appreciate coming to these nursing homes, and they appreciate seeing our cars,” said Ewen. “They come out, and a lot of them say that they have a car like that. They really do enjoy having us, and we enjoy doing it. We feel like it is a service for the people.”
For all those involved, it is like a walkthrough time getting to see the residents’ reactions and hear their stories.
“It is watching their expressions when they say that they used to have one of these,” said Janeczko. “We have a resident that used to have a must thing and it's brought him back to 50-60 years ago. It brought him back to his youth. It's neat hearing stories like how much they paid for what they did or how they drove it compared to the stuff nowadays. It's like a walk through time.”
Getting to get outside and reminisce is a treat for the residents.
“When they come out here, they reminisce when they see what they used to be able to drive," said Janeczko. “They can relive their past and listen to their stories. It's priceless.”
To learn more about Life Care Center of Valparaiso, please visit its website, lcca.com/locations/in/valparaiso.