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These Fabulous Seniors Are Recreating Iconic Movie Posters to Raise Money for Alzheimer’s

They’re proving you’re never too old to make a difference—or model for the camera. 

When you picture nursing homes, you might imagine a dull and stuffy vibe, but the Spiritwood Assisted Living Nursing Home in Washington is anything but. The residing senior citizens are huge movie buffs, know how to smize for the camera, and have quite the impressive collection of costumes.

In a charitable project that combines all three, they’ve turned themselves into models for a cause. Decked out from head to toe in vibrant wigs, makeup, and costumes, the fabulous group of seniors recreate iconic scenes and characters from classic movies. Village Concepts, a family company that owns the senior home, turns the photos into calendars, and every penny earned from sales goes straight to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Jennifer Angell, the community relations director at Spiritwood at Pine Lake, first came up with the idea for the photoshoot in 2018 when she spotted a senior sitting in the dining room that had an uncanny resemblance to Hollywood legend Katherine Hepburn. The celebrity doppelganger inspired her to start scouting other residents at the assisted living community.

Once the models were cast, Angell would buy all the costumes, reserve a backdrop, and set the scene. According to Angell, one photo takes a minimum of two hours to create. The photo project is open to all members of the Spiritwood Assisted Living community, including those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, who are given special time and care to take on their role. The oldest participant is a 102-year-old model returning for her second feature this year.

Angell says that Alzheimer’s has always been near and dear to her heart, and as someone who’s always loved taking photos, a calendar setting seemed like the best way to contribute while incorporating something she feels confident in doing.

“We have a memory care program at Spiritwood, and so Alzheimer’s impacts us all,” says Angell. “Taking care of Alzheimer’s patients is very hard work. They need a lot more funding for care and research.”

When the initial round of calendars hit shelves, Angell says the first three boxes sold out in just four days. The community sold more than 150 of their first calendars, and in conjunction with other fundraisers, earned $14,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association.

To date, more than 40 residents have posed for photos with 300 calendars sold. However, the project’s full impact is incalculable. In addition to their Alzheimer’s contribution, Angell says the project has affected the mood of the community as a whole. The models would even stay in their costumes and parade through the dining room to celebrate their role in the calendar after the photoshoot concluded.

“The seniors are truly movie stars now,” says Angell. “It has bonded us all in a way that is beyond words.”

Angell says they are currently planning their next photo campaign for the 2021 calendar, which will be released in October. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Angell is planning fewer “group shots” and more individual portraits to adhere to social distancing guidelines. The calendar is said to include classic recreations of pop culture icons, like Marlon Brando from The Godfather, elves from Elf, Princess Leia from Star Wars, the Star Trek crew, and even newer TV series like Stranger Things.

If you are interested in purchasing the wholesome calendar for yourself (and contributing to a very worthy cause), you can place your order here.

“For these seniors, the calendar is a symbol that, just because you are at the point in your life where you have to go to retirement living, doesn’t mean you will be forgotten about or fade from memory,” says Angell. “You will still make more memories and you will still have things to contribute, just like our seniors who are making America smile right now.”

Seniors in Issaquah raise money for Alzheimer’s by dressing up as Hollywood stars

An assisted living home in Issaquah is helping residents have some much-needed fun during the pandemic by dressing up as Hollywood icons.

Seniors at Village Concepts Spiritwood at Pine Lake have been recreating famous pictures for what Community Director Jennifer Angell calls their “Hollywood Seniors Calendar.”

Angell takes all the photos and is in charge of casting.

“I go through the dining room, and I kind of look at all the residents, examine them, and see who best fits the character I’m thinking I want to do,” she said.

“They don’t approach me directly,” she explained, laughing. “What they do is, they go get their hair done at the hair salon and they let our hairdresser Jan know, who lets me know, ‘Jennifer, you know what, so and so would really like to be in the calendar.’ And then I go to them and invite them.”

In the three years since the calendar started, seniors have posed as a wide range of Hollywood icons, decked out in full costume and makeup.

“We had the Blues Brothers, which was, I thought, phenomenal, … I had a Marilyn Monroe that was just, there was something about it,” Angell recalled. “… My personal favorite, I did Cabaret — it was Liza Minnelli. And I just thought she came out really beautiful too.”

Angell says the calendar isn’t just for fun, it’s also for a good cause.

“It was something that I came up with to earn money for the Alzheimer’s Association,” she said. “I love taking pictures, so I was trying to think of something to incorporate that and came up with the calendar, and we started selling them.”

The calendars sell for $41 each, including shipping, and all the money goes to the Alzheimer’s Association.

As for the residents, after dressing up like celebrities, they’re starting to become them. They’re getting attention from national news outlets, including CNN and Access Hollywood. We’re also told they might make an appearance on the Kelly Clarkson Show soon.

So far, the calendars have raised more than $16,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association. Angell says they’ve also raised a lot of spirits around the retirement home.

“They felt like they were movie stars for the day,” she said. “They would keep their costumes on, and I would parade them through the dining room among their peers, and everybody would clap and they’d get applause.”

The 2021 calendar photo shoot wrapped this summer, and the calendar comes out in October. It includes recreations from photos of stars like Willie Nelson and Sonny and Cher, to name a few.

If you’d like to buy one, visit the Facebook page for Village Concepts Retirement Communities.

These seniors are posing as Hollywood stars to raise money for Alzheimer’s research

Some of the calendar models pose as the members of the “Star Trek” cast.

(CNN)With each flash of the camera, these beautiful people “smize” with their eyes and work their best angles.

Decked out in colorful wigs, makeup and costumes, the mature models are recreating iconic movie scenes and characters for their annual calendar. The glitzy group are all seniors from a Washington state assisted living community, and proceeds from sales of the calendar go to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“All of the money we raise goes to them. We really believe in it. We deal with it (Alzheimer’s disease) here every day,” Marketing and Community Relations Director Jennifer Angell said. “It’s very close to our hearts.”

Proceeds from the community’s calendar sales go toward Alzheimer’s research.

Angell, an amateur photographer whose last name is pronounced “angel,” came up with the idea to transform everyday grandmas and grandpas into iconic entertainers after noticing an uncanny resemblance between one of her seniors and Hollywood legend Katherine Hepburn.

She took the lookalike’s photo and started casting other residents at the Village Concepts Communities — Spiritwood at Pine Lake facility.

“I thought, ‘well, let’s do all of them. I’ll start buying the costumes,’ and we put them into a calendar situation,” Angell told CNN.

When the first box of calendars hit the shelves three years ago, Angell says the community sold more than 150. “They were going really quick and I had to keep ordering and ordering,” she exclaimed. “The seniors were so proud.”

All seniors welcome

The photo project is open to all members of the Spiritwood Assisted Living community including those in memory care. Members living with Alzheimer’s or dementia get special time and care to take on their role. On average, Angell said, each photo requires a minimum of two hours.

“They may not remember your name, but if you interact with them enough and show constant friendship, they trust you and a huge bond is created.”

Angell said each senior gets involved in the creative process to the best of their ability. Production planning usually begins with Angell dropping by one of the seniors’ social hubs — the dining room.

There, Angell and her supervisor can use their creative eyes to scout fresh faces for new roles.

Staff and residents have made and sold “Hollywood Senior” calendars for three years.

“We actually kind of have a roundtable and talk about what we’re going to do. They (the residents) have a big voice in everything too.”

After the photo shoots, the seniors parade through the dining room in full costume to celebrate their role in the calendar. “They feel like they’re special,” said Angell.

Best friends Kip Steele, right, and Jack Guptil recreate Hollywood’s iconic Blues Brothers.

From best friends to Blues Brothers

Kip Steele and his best friend Jack Guptil posed together as the Blues Brothers.

Prior to retirement, Steele was a businessman and and traveled to more than 70 countries. In his spare time, he loved to play hockey and go dancing. “I am a lover of life,” he said. So, when Angell pulled out the costumes, the grandfather of four was ready for his close-up.

For Steele, who now uses a wheelchair, his portrait holds a deeper meaning beyond his appearance in the calendar. It is a creative chance to express his desire to keep living. “That sort of gave me a lift spiritually,” he said.

After their photo shoot, Kip and Jack — still clad as the Blues Brothers — made their lunchroom rounds, egged on by applause, cheers and good-natured jeers.

For Steele, his community is a loving family.

“We got a lot of applause, smiles and laughter. I think that was the essence of doing the whole thing anyway,” he said.

After their photo shoots, the models parade around their assisted living community in full costume.

Confidence at any age

Steele said his community gives him the confidence to try new things, like popping wheelies over curbs. He also loves art class. Steele is clear though; his big goal is to get out of the wheelchair and walk on his own. But in the meantime, he’s working on a final goal.

“You know what the last thing on my bucket list is?” he asked with a laugh.

“Don’t kick it.”

To date, more than 40 residents have posed for photos.

While the community’s calendar project and other fundraisers yielded $14,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association, the project’s full value for the residents is immeasurable.

“As seniors, they lose their feeling of importance sometimes,” said Angell. “They’re so willing to help me and they’re so excited about being in the spotlight.”

To date more than 40 residents have posed for photos with 300 calendars sold. The oldest participant is a thriving 102-year-old model returning for her second feature this year.

Angell and her supervisor are planning their next photo campaign which will be release in October.

The next calendar will debut this fall.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Angell is planning less “group shots” and more individual portraits to follow social-distancing guidelines. She hopes the calendar will include classic recreations of Willie Nelson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sonny and Cher and Winston Churchill.

Although photography in a pandemic poses unique challenges for her mature models, Angell and team are determined to do whatever it takes to make sure her seniors shine — and do so safely.

“I feel like they’re my family. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them.”

Seniors Recreate Iconic Movie Posters For Calendar That’s Raising Thousands For Alzheimer’s – And They’re Amazing

Tom, is that you? Here’s one senior with a need for speed… and an apparent love of Top Gun.

These seniors have been getting fancy with makeup and lights since long before COVID-19 spurred us all to creativity.

In genius photoshoots, residents at the Spiritwood Assisted Living in Washington State have been recreating iconic posters from classic movies for two years now. And the results are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

The idea to transform seniors into Hollywood stars came to Jennifer Angell in 2018. She’s the community relations director at ‘Spiritwood at Pine Lake’. Her mission? To combine unique, enjoyable activities for the residents with something purposeful—like raising money for others.

Jennifer struck gold when she came up with an idea for a ‘film star’ calendar.

“For two years we have dressed up the seniors as Hollywood movie stars and Village Concepts, a family company that owns the senior home, produces the calendars for us,” she told GNN. “I photograph each senior after doing makeup, hair and costume. The best part is we sell each calendar and every penny earned goes to the Alzheimer’s Association.”

“For the first calendar in 2019, the whole process took about four months,” says Jennifer. “I would do just one photo at a time, and when it was ready, I’d present it to the community at lunchtime. People passed the photo around and the featured resident would dress up in costume and parade around the lunchroom. It was so much fun for everyone.”

Fedoras, check. Sunglasses, check. Two ‘somebodies to love’, check.

Jack Guptil, 83, who starred in the “Blues Brothers” photoshoot told the Issaquah Reporter in 2018, “When asked by Jennifer to be a part of the calendar, I didn’t want to be bothered, but when I saw how much fun people were having being someone else, I said that’s me—Elwood from the Blues Brothers.”

The first three boxes sold out in just four days. “Resident families just loved it and swooped them right up,” says Jennifer.

After the Alzheimer’s Association posted them for sale on their blog in 2018 they raised around $14,000.

Jennifer gave GNN the inside scoop about the theme for the 2021 calendar. It will be ‘Iconic Figures’ including pop culture icons like Sonny and Cher, Willie Nelson, and Andy Warhol, alongside historical notables like Winston Churchill and Eleanor Roosevelt.

“The annual resident calendars bring so much joy to not only the residents but their families,” says Spiritwood’s Executive Director Michelle Strazis. “They feel good about themselves participating in something that makes them feel so special and to be contributing by helping raise money for such a worthy cause.”

Which iconic Hollywood image is your favorite? Click here to see them and share the ones you love the most.

Purchase their calendars the old-fashioned way—by sending a check for $41, and choose between the 2020 or 2021 calendar. The info is on their Facebook page, or call Jennifer at (425) 313-9100.