Video-chat technology has been taking seniors at Baptistcare’s William Carey Court Residential Care in Busselton on an underwater adventure eight metres below the ocean’s surface.
Residents have used Zoom to connect with Busselton Jetty tour guide and marine biology student Olivia Rynvis who volunteered her time to conduct special presentations about the jetty’s history and marine life, and to introduce a virtual underwater observatory tour.
The online excursions are just one of a number of technology-based initiatives at Baptistcare helping to keep seniors connected, engaged and entertained.
Roslyn McDonald, Lifestyle Coordinator at Baptistcare William Carey Court, said residents appreciated the virtual visits as a way of getting out and about, meeting new people and enjoying new experiences.
“The residents were amazed at the technology and felt they were right there, underwater,” Mrs McDonald said.
“They loved seeing all the fish from their chairs in the activity room.”
The online jetty tours have sparked many memories, especially for 90-year-old Roy Morris who moved to Baptistcare William Carey Court late last year.
Mr Morris served on the former Busselton Jetty Environment and Conservation Association for 27 years, including nine years as president.
One of the train platforms on the jetty has been named in his honour.
After Baptistcare’s first online jetty tour Mr Morris’ daughter brought in her father’s old photos to share with Ms Rynvis and the rest of the group at the next Zoom session.
“This started more amazing reminiscing stories,” Mrs McDonald said.
The Zoom excursions were the idea of Busselton Jetty CEO Lisa Shreeve who contacted Baptistcare William Carey Court during the COVID-19 lockdown after hearing an appeal for virtual volunteers.
“Over the past 155 years the community has given so much to the Busselton Jetty, so during COVID it’s been really important that we are able to give back to the community,” Mrs Shreeve said.
“We approached Olivia who was already running our online tours and she jumped at the chance to volunteer her time.”
Ms Rynvis said she was delighted to have helped residents at Baptistcare William Carey Court enjoy the attractions of Busselton Jetty via Zoom.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed speaking with residents, hearing their stories about the jetty and seeing their photos,” she said.
Baptistcare William Carey Court is planning more virtual tours, including the 1.8km ride on the Busselton Jetty train.
Find out more about Baptistcare.