Aged care residents from Uniting Annesley in Haberfield and Locke Haven in Petersham recently had their very own ‘red-carpet’ moment when they attended the premiere of a new homegrown short film, which shares scripted personal stories about living with mental illness as an older person and the importance of community.
“The Out of Tuners” was written by Annesley resident Christine Tubbs and stars five residents from each facility who assume different ‘characters’ to talk about their mental health experiences and entering aged care.
Hannah Buckland, Uniting Annesley Case Manager, said the project has really inspired and excited the residents who performed in it.
“The short film was conceived by Christine as a way for the residents to get together to celebrate Mental Health month and a wonderful way for everyone to feel included and recognised for their contributions,” said Hannah.
“Many of our residents have experienced homelessness as well as mental illness, so feeling seen and heard and appreciated is so important to them and this film was a great opportunity to do that.”
Uniting Annesley, home to 88 residents, is one of the first residential aged care homes in Australia to be certified as a fully government-funded aged care homeless facility.
The nearby 46-bed Uniting Locke Haven is currently going through the same accreditation process.
“Annesley and Locke Haven are home to some of the most vulnerable elderly people in our community, and they are often very isolated. Projects like this help to engage them and make them feel included,” Hannah said.
Led by Uniting Exercise Coordinator Portia England, the residents from both homes all auditioned for their role and to be part of the ensemble and visited each other’s homes to rehearse both the speaking and dance scenes.
“For many of them it was their first time being involved in performance arts and in some cases, to actually be part of group activities, so to see it all come together has been amazing and we can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they see themselves on the big screen,” said Portia.
Both homes have joined together to form a Mental Health Hub with the aim being to share education, resources and training for staff and provide residents with opportunities to take part in group projects to keep them engaged and less isolated.