A year long journey to modernize a rural nursing home ended with a step back in time. Black and white tile floors, chrome chairs trimmed with teal colored vinyl, a juke box and a full-service soda fountain remind visitors of a simpler time. You can almost image poodle skirts, leather jackets and teenagers hanging out on a Friday night.

Residents surround the soda fountain at Bibb Medical Center Nursing Home's 50s Diner.

Residents surround the soda fountain at Bibb Medical Center Nursing Home’s 50s Diner.

That’s the feeling Bibb Medical Center Nursing Home wants to convey with its new 50s Diner. It’s the final piece of a renovation that marks the nursing home’s 50th anniversary. The Diner entryway marks the original entrance to the nursing home.

“This is the original entrance to Bibb Medical Center Nursing Home,” Administrator Joseph Marchant told a large crowd of community leaders, nursing home residents and health care professionals gathered for the dedication ceremony. “This was built in 1967 and was the entrance to the 30-bed facility. To repurpose the old entrance is something unique. Hopefully for the next 50 years, this is a space that can be enjoyed.”

Since its humble beginning, Bibb Medical Center Nursing Home has grown to a capacity of 131 beds and offers both long-term care and short-term rehabilitation. New flooring, wall coverings, a nutrition room and new nurses’ stations now greet residents, patients and visitors. Outdoor spaces were transformed too. The courtyard has a new pergola and several large planters containing trees and flowers. The diner opens onto a large covered porch.

Porch outside the 50s Diner at Bibb Medical Center Nursing Home.

Porch outside the 50s Diner at Bibb Medical Center Nursing Home.

The goal of the renovation is to help the nursing home better serve its community and remain competitive for another 50 years. The 50s Diner is the special touch that connects the past with the future.

“When we began the renovations, we wanted to do something unique that the residents could enjoy,” Marchant explained while giving a tour of the diner. There was intentional thought on how we could use this as part of a hydration program that will have a positive clinically impact our residents.”

Improving the quality of life and health of residents are the most important reasons the diner was created. For the hydration program, the diner will host a “happy hour” every afternoon to encourage residents to drink more vitamin water and juices. The juke box will be used for music therapy and socials. The large television will transform the room into a theater for watching movies.

“The dedication is important, but now the real work begins” Marchant concluded. “Our staff is developing programs that will use this diner every day and involve all of our residents. We can build the space and put paint on the wall, but we have to make it enjoyable for the residents with aggressive programs every single day that the residents can enjoy. I hope they enjoy this space for a long time.”

Residents of Bibb Medical Center Nursing Home enjoy lunch in the 50s Diner.

Residents of Bibb Medical Center Nursing Home enjoy lunch in the 50s Diner.

Hamburgers, chips and Cocal-Colas were on the menu for the first lunch in Bibb Medical Center Nursing Home's 50s Diner.

Hamburgers, chips and Cocal-Colas were on the menu for the first lunch in Bibb Medical Center Nursing Home’s 50s Diner.