Richard Hameline surrounded by his family at Meadowbrook Healthcare’s Block Party.
PLATTSBURGH — Smiling, white faced clowns pumped out balloon animals.
Excited shrieks from the dunking booth pierced the air, anyone within a few feet was sprayed with water.
Cotton candy and fair food filled nostrils as the Castaways took the stage, their music a two-step down memory lane.
But the best part for Richard Hameline, 86, was his grandkids.
“I enjoy it,” he grinned from his wheelchair outside Meadowbrook Healthcare in Plattsburgh, the sun beaming brightly overhead.
The 200-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility has been holding an annual Block Party for 10 years.
“We invite all of our neighbors so we can get to know them,” said Kim Clowney, activities director for Meadowbrook Healthcare.
“We also do it to get the residents outdoors and to bring the fair to them.”
The event included pie throwing, a dunking booth, fair food, entertainment, a talent show, carnival games, arts and crafts, snow cones, cotton candy, donkeys and more.
Activities are an important part of what occurs at Meadowbrook, which has been recognized as the North Country “facility of choice” for short- and long-term care since 1974. Meadowbrook offers two to three daily activities as well as bigger ones up to three times weekly.
Everyone looks forward to the Block Party.
“It’s a great way for the residents to become involved in their community,” Clowney said.
Many neighbors, family members and friends walked smiling through the Block Party, participating in the activities, eating cotton candy and spending time with a loved one living at Meadowbrook.
“I have volunteered here for a long time,” said Patty Lafave.
She gets self satisfaction from doing it and also knows many of the residents personally.
“I have friends and relatives here.”
She helps with mass and said it is important for people to volunteer and pop in, even if only for 10 minutes.
“Some of these people get lonely.”
Cliff St. Louis walked with Lafave at the Block Party, joking that he follows here around.
“It is nice to get the patients out for fresh air and these types of activities,” he said. “Five minutes can go a long way to change these people’s lives.”
The Block Party is a wonderful event for the children and makes them feel welcome, said Mary Ann Sorrell.
Her father, Hameline, broke his neck and lives at Meadowbrook after spending some time at a facility in Canada.
“Dad just dunked somebody in the booth,” Sorrell said excitedly.
She appreciates how open Meadowbrook is to the community, especially compared to the “old days” when nursing homes were sealed off.
“They have been looking forward to this all year,” Sorrell said.
Her children feel at home at Meadowbrook, playing Bingo and taking the back way up the stairs.
“I think this is inviting and turns people on to the carnival,” Hameline said. “Look how excited everyone is.
“They all want to be involved.”