For promise of pampering, seniors trek to beauty shop Day care center treats its elderly clients to weekly indulgence

September 30, 1995|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

On Friday mornings at Senior Connections, an adult day care center in Owings Mills, a call can be heard ringing throughout the halls: "Time for the beauty shop."

For the past two years, some of the elderly clients at Senior Connections have loaded up in its van for their end-of-the-week trip to the Maryland Beauty Academy in Garrison Forest Shopping Center.

While most day care facilities offer on-site beauty services, Senior Connections clients get the twofold treat of a small indulgence and a short field trip. Many are recovering from illness, some suffer from Alzheimer's or dementia, but their weekly ritual of pampering is a testimonial to the power of a make-over.

"They like it because it boosts up their morale and self-esteem," said Frances Williams, a Senior Connections staffer who escorts the clients and stays with them during their appointments. "They like the TLC."

Mrs. Williams visits the academy to get her hair done and it was her idea to have a beautifying outing for the seniors.

"The people here are great with our clients," Mrs. Williams said. "They treat them so well."

Prices are cheap -- a shampoo is $2, a haircut is $5 -- and that appeals to the seniors, with many on fixed budgets and not able to afford regular salon prices. Services are performed by cosmetology students under the eyes of instructors.

No one knows your secrets better than your hair dresser, and relationships have been formed over the shampoo bowl. Student Carrington Morgan calls Dorothy Perry, 89, "my grandmother."

"I don't have one anymore," Mr. Morgan said as he plucked out Mrs. Perry's wet set -- styling her curls. "Ms. Dorothy is a sweetie pie."

The feeling is mutual. Mrs. Perry beams as Mr. Morgan works his magic on her gray tresses, and she even carries a picture of him in her purse.

"I took it home and showed it to my daughter," Mrs. Perry said. "She said 'Is that the man who does your hair? Tip him!' "

Women are not the only ones concerned with their appearance. Cas Rybarczyk, 90, comes three times a month to get his locks trimmed.

"When you get old your hair doesn't grow out as fast," Mr. Rybarczyk said. "What's there, goes."

Carrie Brown, 69, closed her eyes and sank deeper into the chair as student Karen Hampton massaged conditioner into her hair. "I like to make them beautiful," Ms. Hampton said.

Anne Levinson smiled prettily after she was led from a salon chair, her salt-and-pepper hair styled neatly in soft curls.

Mrs. Levinson has Alzheimer's disease. She can't remember her age or who painted her nails with the pretty coral polish she sports. But she does know that she enjoys a trip to a beauty parlor where everyone knows her and understands her special needs.

"When I come here they are always saying 'Anne this and Anne that'," Mrs. Levinson said softly. "It's nice to be remembered and thought about."

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