Homeland Center residents get ‘all dolled up’ at beauty shop


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Felicia Wallace reviewed her plan for Janet DeLong’s salon treatment. First, she would put Janet’s shampooed, wet hair in curlers. Then, Janet would sit under the dryer for 15 minutes or so. “Then I’ll take her out and fluff her hair a little bit, and she’ll be all dolled up for the day,” Felicia said.

Welcome to the Homeland Center Beauty Shop, one of the busiest spots in the whole facility. The cheery, two-chair salon is one of the reasons that Homeland Center residents always look their best. With weekly visits to the beauty shop, plus regular manicures performed by activities and clinical staff, the ladies of Homeland always look lovely.

On this Friday morning, Janet is getting her weekly treatment. Some weeks, she gets a perm. Others, it’s a simple set with curlers. “I get whatever it needs,” she said. Janet loves the shop so much that she stops by daily to check on Felicia and her colleague, Charity McCrae. “The shop is very nice, and the girls are both nice. They’re wonderful to talk to, and they do very good work. You leave here; you’re beautiful.”

Felicia considers her work at the shop to be rewarding. “They appreciate it, and this is like the highlight of their week,” she says. “It’s fulfilling to be able to please them. This is a treat for them.” Beauty treatments for the elderly require a few considerations not expected in outside beauty salons. Felicia has been with Homeland for almost nine years, and she is “mindful of how sensitive their skin is.” If her clients fall asleep in the chair and seem comfortable, she doesn’t disturb them.

wallace L delong“After doing it for nine years, you’re used to bending over and leaning sideways and getting wet,” she said. Otherwise, the atmosphere is much like any other beauty shop. Residents and stylists chat and laugh. Felicia loves “getting to know them, their generation and their stories.”

“Their lives were so much different than ours now,” she said. “Everything is so easy now. Sometimes, we take things for granted, and then we hear some of the residents’ stories.” Residents talk about past family vacations or their children. Janet has a son who’s a surgeon in Harrisburg, and a daughter who’s a registered dietitian in Florida, “where it’s nice and warm.”

She got a laugh from Felicia when she shared that her son, as a little boy, “wanted to be a caboose man on a train.”

“About a year or so later, he decided he wanted to own a Dairy Queen,” she said, earning another laugh. “My husband and I liked that idea. We could have ice cream every day.”

Another regular client, Anne Russo, was waiting for her appointment. Felicia, she said, “is great. Her whole demeanor is very professional. She knows her job. She knows what to do. She knows to treat different hair differently.”

After Janet’s hair was dry, Felicia removed the curlers and combed out the freshened style. A coat of hair spray, Felicia said, “and Janet is all dolled up.”

Janet held her head high.

“Do you think I’m ready for Hollywood?”