Why care homes can be the greatest place to spend Christmas
If you’re still stuck for what to do on Christmas day, why not spend it at an aged care home with your relatives? Here are 6 great reasons why Christmas at a Bupa aged care home rocks.
Many Bupa care homes hold concerts across the month of December to bring the festive cheer into the homes. Bupa Enfield General Manager Jane Cussen says friends and families are encouraged to come along and join in.
“We decorate the home and then put on five concerts during the month of December. Our local entertainers come and put on Christmas concerts, we’ve had carols, the Modbury singers, it’s great fun for everyone, it brightens up the residents and the families really get into it too!”
Residents and staff at Bupa Morphettville have been busy decorating the front of their building with lights so their home shines brighter than any other in the street.
“We love our lights but we’ve also organised bus trips for our residents to see all the Christmas lights in the suburbs. We went to get ice-cream afterwards, the bus trips have been a huge hit.”
Inside the home is also beautifully decorated, with giant Santas peppered throughout, making it a fun and festive place to spend Christmas day.
The super-cute animals
Unfortunately you won’t find this lovely little Santa Claus called Marley in every home you visit, however she’s definitely a favourite amongst residents and visitors at Bupa Morphettville.
“She’s very gentle with the residents,” says General Manager Robyn Caruso. “She comes in three times a week and spends time with them all, it absolutely brightens their day. She has a different outfit for every occasion, but seeing her in a Santa suit with a beard was possibly the best one of all.”
Her owner Tara Lloyd is one of the ‘Person-First’ coaches at Bupa Morphettville.
“She realised how important animals are in the home, so Marley comes to work with her,” says Robyn. “That undying love and respect from an animal no matter who you are or where you are in your life is pretty special.”
“We also have honey bunny who lives here, she’s a floppy eared rabbit who also goes around and visits all the residents,” Robyn says.
The community spirit
At Bupa Enfield, the Resident Relative Christmas Lunch is the biggest day of the year. Families are invited along for a feast surrounded by decorations, carols, raffles, even Santa comes with gifts. This year it was held a week before Christmas so everyone could take part. Lunch was a seafood basket cooked by the home’s chefs, followed by cassata ice-cream.
“People absolutely love it. All of our staff dress up in Christmas clothes, I’ve even got a picture of me dressed up as a Christmas tree!” Says Jane.
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“All the staff got into it too, one of them led the carol singing in the morning. I was very proud of them. I even found myself crying with pride at the end of the day.”
Making people feel loved
The unfortunate truth is that some residents don’t have family or friends to visit them on Christmas day. Which is why Bupa carers welcome other families who are visiting to spread their Christmas cheer, so all residents feel loved and part of the festivities.
“If we’ve got one or two residents on their own, we’ll always set them up with other families for lunch so that they don’t feel alone,” says Jane.
“We make an effort to ensure they’ve always got company, and the other families are always very generous with their time.”
Spending your day in a care home might not only brighten up your loved one and provide the kids with entertainment, you could also be bringing love and cheer to residents who aren’t so fortunate.
There are few people in this world more special than carers, and Jane Cussen is one of them. She’s coming in on Christmas day especially so she can serve lunch and just sit down with the residents to connect and reflect on the year.
“At the end of the day, when someone comes to me with a problem, and I can solve their problem, that is what’s so rewarding,” Jane says.
“I’m very privileged to be able to part of their lives and have the chance to create special memories with them. It’s wonderful to see people in an environment where they are enjoying life and connecting with each other.”