Despite dementia, these Broncos fans are still ready for the season

Posted at 10:47 PM, Sep 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 00:47:35-04

Miles away from the roar of Mile High, there is a different kind of roar coming from the common room at Chelsea Place in Aurora. 

"It's game night!" 


"Go Broncos!"

But this isn't a raucous tailgate. It's a room of seniors. 

"I'm 90 years old and I’m proud to be a Broncos fan." Fred Hall said.

"I’ve always loved them," Mary Billehus said. "So many years. I can’t even count them."

The afternoon ahead of the Broncos season opener meant something special on the exercise calendar.

"We put on our orange and blue and we do our touchdown signs and our false starts. It gets them excited and connected to what's going on and its movement and exercise with purpose," Jenni Dill, of Chelsea Place, said.

But love for the hometown team isn't the only thing these seniors have in common. 

"Everyone that is living here is living with dementia," Dill said.

They may struggle with short-term memory, but according to experts at the specialized memory assisted living facility, there is a silver lining. 

"Their long-term memory is intact," Dill said with a smile. "They may not remember what they’re eating for dinner right now, but they sure as heck remember that they’re deep down Broncos fans and that never changes."

"The football has put me back in the 'rah rah rah' stage," Fred Hall said, sitting in his wheelchair draped in a Broncos coat. 

"Because our team is going to win again," Mary Billehus added in her tie dye Broncos shirt. 

Even if the game was on past their bedtime, they still celebrated. They just did so on Tuesday morning.