At 85 years of age, Lionwood resident, Hazel Hicks, truly seems to be forever young! Hazel is from Oklahoma City and moved to Lionwood Senior Living from another community in our area on May 31, 2015. Almost immediately after arriving, she mentioned that moving to Lionwood was the best decision she has ever made and reassured her children that she never wanted to move again. She said that the best thing about moving to Lionwood was the simplicity in waking up, breathing, and heading out her door to enjoy all of the fun activities.
From the first time we met Hazel, she spoke about her lifelong dream of going to Hawaii. She even shared that she won the talent show in the 10th grade with an intricate hula dance routine. She continued to win many other talent shows throughout high school with the same successful routine. Hazel finished sharing her story by saying, “Wouldn’t it be something if I could go to Hawaii and perform my talent show routine? Now that would be a dream come true!”
The Lionwood staff decided to make her dream come true and bring Hawaii to Lionwood so that she could perform! But an ordinary luau just wouldn’t do. The staff wanted to truly bring Hawaii to Lionwood in every way possible. The staff organized an all-day Hawaiian adventure that Hazel could enjoy alongside her friends at Lionwood.
The night before the all-day event, the staff went to Hazel’s apartment to surprise her with a travel bag filled with Hawaiian attire and a boarding bass. They told her that if she hopped on the plane at 11pm and slept until the next morning, she would wake up in Hawaii. She was ecstatic! With tears in her eyes, Hazel immediately started putting on the Hawaiian attire. When we told her that she was going to have the chance to perform her award-winning hula routine, she broke out in dance and gave us a sample performance.
The next day was filled with non-stop activities, including a lei-making class, hula style exercise class, Hawaiian music, and a huge Hawaiian Luau Buffet. Lionwood staff even set up tiki bars inside the community, inviting a cabana boy to serve drinks to the residents! After dinner, the staff helped Hazel prepare for her big performance. She got dressed in her Hawaiian attire and headed to the main stage. She kicked off the luau with her solo routine. Hazel’s performance couldn’t have been more perfect. Afterwards, she performed in a group hula routine led by a professional hula dancer. Even after her performance ended, Hazel continued to dance the night away with her friends and had the time of her life!
Hazel had many friends and family who live out of town and were not able to see her perform. The staff created a collage for Hazel to mail to her loved ones so she could share her WOW! Moment. She still talks about her special night and says she can’t wait to go back to Lionwood-style Hawaii again!