Kathy Alden drives by the Alder Ridge Senior Apartments on May 2 with a sign that reads: “Hang in there, we miss you.” Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Kathy Alden drives by the Alder Ridge Senior Apartments on May 2 with a sign that reads: “Hang in there, we miss you.” Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Federal Way resident organizes “pick-me-up” parade for senior communities

Alder Ridge Senior Apartments and Mill Ridge Village were visited by more than 100 people May 2.

Seniors living at two Milton senior community facilities enjoyed a visit from nearly 100 community members during Saturday’s “Pick-Me-Up” parade.

Since Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee issued stay at home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many seniors at Alder Ridge Senior Apartments and Mill Ridge Village have been self-quarantined for more than 40 days.

“We want them to know we’re thinking of them,” said Kathy Alden, Federal Way resident and event organizer. Both Alden’s mother and mother-in-law reside at the Alder Ridge Senior Apartments.

With the seldom exception of grocery store trips or essential doctor’s appointments, many of the residents at the two senior housing locations are lonely, directors said.

Residents of Alder Ridge and Mill Ridge communities smiled from behind their room windows and waved from upper floor balconies as a steady stream of more than 40 cars circled the facilities on May 2.

Cars filled with residents’ family members and community members honked and waved signs saying, “we care” and “hang in there, we miss you!” Milton police officers and Engine 118 of East Pierce Fire & Rescue also participated in the parade.

Some drivers in the parade also passed along donations of baked treats, brownies, cupcakes, DVDs, puzzles and more.

To the Alder Ridge apartments, this pick-me-up parade was yet another show of the community coming together amid hardship.

On Dec. 26, 2017, nearly 140 residents were displaced after a two-alarm fire broke out at the retirement community that evening. Engines from five fire departments responded to the incident, and despite the devastation, there were no injuries.

The building has since been renovated, and reopened about a year and a half ago.

“They were so shook up after the fire,” Alden said of the residents. “They weren’t themselves.”

Alder Ridge resident Doreen Davis said she’s “a stickler” for following the social distancing and health guidelines, and also hasn’t had visitors in more than a month.

“It makes me feel good because you see there’s some people that do care,” Davis said. “It’s nice to see the support.”

After the parade, Alden was overcome with emotion — partially because of the wonderful turnout, she said, but also because of the reality of the pandemic.

“It was supposed to be a little thing to wave to our moms and grandmas,” Alden said. “And then I thought ‘why not just go big?’”

“It was much bigger than I ever anticipated,” she said. “I just can’t stop crying.”


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Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at the parade participants with fellow residents on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at the parade participants with fellow residents on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Residents of Alder Ridge Senior Apartments wave from their doorstep and window during the parade on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Residents of Alder Ridge Senior Apartments wave from their doorstep and window during the parade on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

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