Over 1000 clients from 130 viewing parties have recently participated in one of the largest online carolling sessions in history. Inspired by the stories of singing in aged care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, Uniting Lifestyle Specialist Vanessa Ogborne realised that carolling would be a fantastic boost for Uniting clients over the holiday period.
With in-person carolling and entertainment options over Christmas being very limited for senior Australians, Uniting decided that senior clients would bring the Christmas spirit to each other by connecting on videoconferencing.
Clients from Uniting’s residential aged care, seniors gyms, home care, retirement living, and staff gathered excitedly over Zoom to celebrate Christmas with their Uniting family.
Residents at Uniting Roberts Lodge Peakhurst were particularly excited for the event.
“They have been practicing in the mornings, in the garden and even at the dinner table! The event has really made our home feel like Christmas.” said Leisure and Wellness Coordinator Bibiana Agudelo.
“The residents we’re even inspired to make their own Christmas tie-dye shirts for the event!”
Named the ‘One Big Uniting Christmas Carols Concert’, the aged care residents sung songs to each other and connected with staff and other residents over their shared love of carols throughout their lives.
With over 1000 clients taking part, Uniting’s carol concert has rivalled the world record of 1,880 carolling at the same time.
Vanessa Ogborne said, “I’m so impressed at how Uniting was able to mobilise so quickly to give our residents a better Christmas”
“I’ve had many staff message me and tell me how fun and warming the lead-up to Christmas has been with this event”
“Some residents don’t receive much correspondence at Christmas, and this has been heightened during COVID-19”
“The carolling has made them feel a part of a Uniting family”
“It is also wonderful when our team members receive messages of thanks from families and residents. Aged care workers have been on the frontline of the pandemic in Australia, and it is important that we acknowledge aged care workers as the unsung heroes of the pandemic.”
One Big Uniting Christmas Carols Concert has been another example of how Uniting has maintained connection with community and families during this time.
The program has been nicknamed the ‘Staying Connected and Engaged’ program during the COVID-19 pandemic and has focused on digital transformation of Uniting’s services.
This transformation has included Uniting’s Senior Health Hub that has supported senior Australians to stay physically active and socially connected during the height of the pandemic, video newsletters for homes to maintain connection during visitation pauses and Uniting’s ‘Art while we’re apart’ exhibition.
“COVID-19 has pushed us to redesign many parts of our operations but it also has forced ingenuity. Whenever we return to ‘normal’ we need to remember the things that we have achieved. Let’s continue to take this opportunity to evolve and improve” said Vanessa
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