Nursing Home Beauty Pageant

Beauty queens want Ms. Missouri Nursing Home crown
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Nell Shepherd was past her century mark when she competed in her first beauty pageant with a walker and lively stories that made judges tear up with laughter. She reveled in the shows, so much that she insisted she be buried with her sparkling tiara.
“We bawled, my staff, when we heard that” request, said Carla Lungren, co-chairwoman of the Ms. Missouri Nursing Home Pageant, which plans to crown its 29th annual champion Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City.
Lungren and other organizers of the three-tiered, statewide competition say Shepherd’s request epitomizes why such pageants are so important.
“That’s totally why we do what we do everyday in long-term care,” said Lungren, who works with the Missouri Health Care Association. “To touch people’s lives and make them meaningful until the very end. Nell’s was. There’s no doubt about it.”
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5 thoughts on “Nursing Home Beauty Pageant”

  1. My mom gave me the book Age-ing to Sage-ing and this is a perfect example of how we can reclaim the power in growing old. I especially like the fact that the main "event" are the stories the contestants tell.

  2. I agree, Christine. The story-telling is a wonderful way of honoring the experiences of our elders. And I like that the contestants were able to write them ahead of time and have someone else read their narratives if they wanted. So much of eldercare assistance involves maximizing strengths and finding a work-around for weaknesses to help people be the best they can be.

  3. On a much smaller scale, I have conducted fashion shows in just about every facility I have worked and they are always a huge success. Residents love the opportunity to dress-up; staff members take pride in how "their" residents look and residents feel extra special being escorted by staff members who dress for the show as well. I love the idea of the story telling, although not everyone is able to do this.

  4. Sue, I love to watch the fashion shows, and calling it a fashion show rather than a beauty pageant does make it more acceptable to the men. As for the story telling, perhaps if a resident can't put together a story themselves or with assistance, a friend or family member might be able to put their story together for them. It would be a great tribute, for example, for a grandchild to gather a story about a grandparent and read it at the show.


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