Party like it’s 1969: Boomers take over Brussels nightclub

Published May 2, 2024


BRUSSELS: Jeanine, 79, finds today’s music too “boom boom” and she prefers old-time tunes but that did not stop her hitting the dance floor at Brussels’ largest night club along with 10 other elderly residents of three nursing homes in the Belgian capital.

They ended up staying at the “Lift Brussels” night club until 3.30am.

“I was amazed and I found this evening extraordinary,” Jeanine said, adding that she had not gone dancing at a club for at least 30 years.

The 11 pensioners – nine women and two men – were taken to the night club by non-profit association Papy Booom as part of a series of non-conventional activities offered to retired people to keep them active and break the loneliness many of them experience.

“Happiness overcomes old age” is the motto of the association, founded by Youssef Kaddar, who has worked with the elderly in nursing homes since 2010.

After the women had been made up and had had their hair done, they were taken by Kaddar and associate Sonia Flohimont to a crêperie called “Capuccino” for a coffee and were then driven to the night club in a limousine.

“These sorts of activities allow us to live again. We have the feeling of existing again,” said Simone Nestor, 81.

The night out is part of a broader programme offered by Papy Booom to help the elderly become more active again in society.

After several years working in nursing homes, Kaddar said he grew tired of offering the same boring activities and realised that lots of residents were able to do much more.

“We try to offer them activities they are not supposed to do,” he said, including balloon flights, sports contests, making online videos and tutoring schoolchildren.“