Aged Care Narratives » Enjoying the Easter season at Arcare
April 22, 2020
Written by Jamie Loh
Although the Easter season was a little different this year due to COVID-19, Arcare communities across Australia worked tirelessly to ensure that holiday was special for all clients.
Despite precautionary lockdowns being in place at all Arcare residences, clients were still able to connect to their loved ones through window visits, video chats and letters. The lifestyle teams were even able to contact the Easter Bunny to ensure that he would hop and no one would miss out on Easter chocolates.
Here are some of the Easter highlights from Arcare residences around Australia:
Leading up to the Easter long weekend, clients from Arcare Brighton spent time participating in a range of Easter themed activities such as an Easter Egg Hunt, flower arranging and various arts and crafts classes.
With their families and loved ones being front of mind during the Easter season, the clients wanted to explore their creativity and create something that they could keep and pass on to their families or potentially gift to them at a later date.
One of the items that clients made during an arts and crafts class was personalised Easter sock bunnies; with their creations were inspired by love and the hope that Easter brings.
Traditional Funerals have kindly sent Easter Activity books for the clients at Caboolture. They sent us three different versions and the clients think they are fantastic and they enjoy doing them. Volunteer Sandra also dropped of some her handmade Easter gifts for the clients.
To help the Arcare Carnegie community hop into the Easter spirit, the lifestyle team organised a range of arts and crafts activities for clients to participate in.
Two clients, Maureen and Clare had a great time making some Easter crafts. They used different coloured egg cut-outs, and then glued them to some plastic plates with holes cut out in the middle to make a wreath.
There is a strong and growing Jewish community at Arcare Caulfield, and as such at Easter time, the community celebrates both Easter and Passover.
For the first night of Passover, Rabbi Genende visited the Arcare Caulfield community virtually, by zooming in to do a Seder Service for the clients.
All the family’s were also invited to virtually attend the Service, and a total of 17 families joined in on the night.
Matzo bread and kosher grape juice were served, with the juice being served in special cups just for Seder and the Matzos being delivered from the Rabbi Mechacham, which was hand made and sent from Israel.
Many clients had tears in their eyes, as they saw their families on the screen; Seder is a time where all families always get together.
The clients were so happy that this important cultural event was still able to take place with social distancing measures in place, and in spite of the precautionary lockdown.
This year to celebrate Easter, the Arcare Cheltenham community participated in a week-long Easter celebration.
The lifestyle team organised different activities each day, which consisted of various Easter craft activities, egg hunts and even a visit from the Easter Bunny.
The Easter Bunny made a special early trip to visit the Arcare Cheltenham community on Thursday 9th April. The Easter Bunny hopped around the community, visiting clients in their suites and in the dining room, gifting bundles of delicious chocolate eggs.
The Easter Bunny surely delivered some much needed Easter joy to the community; and just in time for the Easter weekend!
In the week leading up to Easter, the Arcare Craigieburn community participated in an Easter Egg Hunt.
The lifestyle team had fun scattering the eggs all around the main courtyard, and clients were invited to don their sunnies and Easter bonnets for meeting in the courtyard for the commencement of the Hunt.
The clients were eager to participate, with many even becoming competitive with one another, to see who could collect the most.
For some it was a mad dash to collect as many eggs as possible, but for others, they were just happy to collect one or two and watch others find their own.
Residence manager, Judy even got involved in the spirit of things, bringing out her own Easter basket to join in the Hunt.
Today at Arcare Eight Mile Plains, clients were busy painting Easter Eggs to put up as decoration in the Lawson Community Hub.
Clients Barbara and Olive have been very good friends for a few years now.
While painting, Barbara commented that ‘Painting always makes me feel at ease.’
Seated at another table were clients Joyce and Elisa, who have never had a proper chat with each other but seating them together turned out to be a great idea.
They spoke in length about their background and what they once did as an occupation.
Client Angie who is usually only interested in craft and French knitting, decided to give painting a try.
After finishing her painting, she said, ‘Send this to my sister, would you?’
It was great to see Angie interacting with clients and trying out a different activity as she usually only comes out for meals.
Team members at Arcare Eight Mile Plains are ensuring that clients in the residence enjoy themselves over the Easter weekend.
Especially in the Kendall community, team members are always making sure that everyone feels included in activities.
During the weekend, they brought around Easter props and took photos of the clients to send to their families.
Elly usually says very little and is very quiet, but after putting on the bunny ears, she had a big smile on her face. Lucia is also a lady of few words, but the Personal Support Workers walked with her outdoors and Lucia shared with them that she enjoyed the sunshine.
Another client who joined in the Easter fun was Peg Wilson. She usually loves to read the newspaper in her room, but she came for this occasion. Meanwhile, Shirley Spencer is the resident happy person as she is always making team members laugh with her cheerful and cheeky personality.
Clients in the Lawson community also enjoyed an Easter morning tea. Barbara, Olive and Lorna are good friends who are always checking up on each other. They even came together to create their own centrepiece for their table.
Judith, Betty and Bobby are another trio of good friends. Judith and Betty have been best friends for over 50 years and Bobby got to know them as they all love chatting and singing together.
During the long Easter weekend, The Lifestyle team were working hard to connect clients with their loved ones.
Easter is usually the busiest time with families visiting our residence, but this year was very different.
To ensure the clients still had the opportunity to see their loved ones, we set up 10-minute video calls throughout the afternoons.
The clients had their favourite beverage, a hot cross bun and a chocolate to enjoy while talking to their family through Skype, Zoom or FaceTime.
Even though families weren’t able to enter the residence, the clients really enjoyed the comfortable Easter atmosphere set by the team at Arcare Glenhaven.
All clients and families involved expressed how special it was to still be able to see each other over the Easter weekend.
Easter is a very important time of the year for many of the clients with religious beliefs.
Usually at Easter, we would have a special Easter service or mass where the clients can hear a message from the pastor or priest and partake in communion together.
This year, we were not able to have a service due to the lockdown restrictions, but we wanted to make sure those clients were able to celebrate this special time of year.
So, team members set up a table for clients where they could say a prayer and light a candle like they would at church.
Over the Easter weekend, many clients came to light a candle to commemorate Jesus dying on the cross and raising from the dead.
Many of the clients thanked the team for thinking of them and enabling them to have a place to celebrate the true meaning of Easter.
Client Norma from Arcare Glenhaven won our second Easter raffle that was announced on the Thursday before Good Friday.
Norma shared with us that she has never won anything in her life.
So, she was thrilled to win the prize and even bragged to her family about all the chocolate she was going to eat over Easter.
Before the Easter weekend, the team at Arcare Hope Island took photos of every client and sent them to their families, along with an Easter message. This was the message that was sent:
Hi, To my Family,
I just wanted to say, “I Love You” and are thinking of you.
You’re not far from my thoughts.
The Staff are doing a wonderful job looking after me.
Thank you for bringing light and happiness into my life. Happy Easter.
Lots of Love
The Lifestyle Team at Arcare Kanwal organised a guessing game competition for clients and and team members to guess how many eggs there are in the jar.
After weeks of excitement, client Maureen Byrnes won the competition.
She was surprised to be declared the winner as she initially did not want to guess but Lifestyle Officer Amber persuaded her to give it a go.
She shared her winnings with husband Bill and also offered the nurses some of her prize.
Easter has always been a time spent with family and this year, it is a different due to the preventative lockdown.
The Lifestyle team were aware that clients have been missing their families, so they got to work over the busy Easter weekend and decided to bring some Easter cheer.
They transformed themselves into the Easter bunny and handed out Easter eggs and bunnies. They were also helping clients with video calls to their families.
‘I’m happy to see my family and use this video call to talk to my grandchildren and wish them a nice Easter,’ Patricia Schofield said.
Client Alan at Kanwal became our Easter bunny assistant as he proudly handed out Easter bunnies to all the clients.
‘It is nice to spread joy to others and it feels nice to make others smile,’ Alan shared while handing out chocolates.
The Arcare Keysborough community participated a range Easter related including arts and crafts classes, an Easter Egg Hunt and even an Easter themed high tea.
On Wednesday 8th April, clients enjoyed an Easter themed high tea.
The lifestyle team decorated the dining room with fresh flowers, Easter rabbits, eggs and Easter banners to mark the occasion.
Clients enjoyed a traditional high tea experience, where tea, coffee and scones with jam and cream were served. Clients were also treated to a few cheeky Easter eggs.
On Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the community also hosted small church services, so that any religious clients could have their time to pray and take communion over the Easter weekend. The clients were very pleased to still be able to participate in this Easter tradition.
On Easter Sunday morning, the lifestyle team made special visits to each client’s suite to wish them a very Happy Easter as well as drop off a bag of Easter eggs and an activity pack. The activity packs were full of puzzles, colouring, games and quizzes to help keep the clients entertained.
Later in the day, the lifestyle team announced the winners in the Easter raffle. Almost everyone who entered won something,with ten major prizes also been handed out.
On Easter Sunday morning, Arcare Knox lifestyle coordinator, Lee hand delivered the donated Easter gift packs from the Lollyology Lolly shop to all the clients.
Although Easter this year felt different for many clients, Lee knew exactly how to bring a smile to the clients’ faces. Donning an Easter Bunny costume, Lee hopped around the dining rooms to hand out all the chocolates. The dining rooms erupted with laughter as the clients spotted Lee and her silly antics.
“Lifestyle always put a smile on my face and manage to make me laugh. Lee coming in dressed as the Easter Bunny was hilarious!” Client, Marianne said.
New community member, Ethel also found Lee’s costume funny and comforting at Easter time, saying, “I have only been at Arcare Knox for just over a month and everyone has been so kind to me… Although I have low vision, seeing Lee in a Bunny suit made me giggle; it made my day.”
“We just had such a wonderful Easter. Thank-you to everyone at Arcare Knox…” Client, June said on behalf of the community.
To celebrate this year, Arcare Maidstone lifestyle coordinator, Barbara hand-delivered Easter eggs and an Easter joke to all the clients in their suites on Easter Sunday morning.
Team members also received a special Easter gift from the Arcare Maidstone community, as a nice way to say thank-you for all their hard-work during the preventative lockdown period.
On Thursday 9th April, the Arcare Malvern East lifestyle team organised a community Easter Egg Hunt.
The lifestyle team had fun scattering the eggs on all levels of the residence; hiding over 50 Easter eggs in the courtyard alone!
The clients were eager to participate, with many even becoming competitive with one another.
For some it was a mad dash to collect as many eggs as possible, but for others, they were just happy to collect one or two and watch others find their own.
Client, Des was delighted to find a heap of eggs during the Easter Egg Hunt, and he couldn’t wipe the satisfied smile off his face for the rest of the afternoon.
Lifestyle coordinator, Tina said, “It makes it all worthwhile when you see the smiles on the clients faces.”
For Easter at Arcare Maroochydore, clients and team members took part in a residence Easter-themed photoshoot.
This year, Easter at Arcare North Lakes had a different take to the usual Easter celebrations.
The Lifestyle team spent Good Friday wrapping up 130 Easter gift packs which were filled with little chocolate goodies, ready for delivery on Easter Sunday.
Clients enjoyed seeing team members dressed up for Easter in their brightest pastel outfits. One team member even came to work in a bunny outfit.
While Easter Sunday was spent playing Easter-themed bingo separately in each dining area. Clients enjoyed an extra Bingo session and won chocolate mint bunnies as prizes.
But wait, there’s more! Clients and team members at Arcare North Lakes received an unexpected basket of Easter treats and goodies.
The local BIG W at North Lakes had generously packed an Easter surprise for everyone at the residence. We named the rabbit soft toy ‘Rabina’ and it officially became our Easter mascot for the weekend.
Residence Manager Annette said, ‘We love partnering with the local community and we are very appreciative of the BIG W team for delivering the Easter basket to us. And their gifts also lift the spirits of clients and team members at our North Lakes residence.’
‘Easter is about being together and even though Easter is a little different this year, the clients are encouraged by the community and team spirit,’ Lifestyle Coordinator Maree shared.
After the amount of love and chocolate the Arcare North Shore clients received over the Easter period, the last thing they expected was more gifts!
‘I did not expect this at all!’ said Roy Davis when he was presented with his Easter gift!
Clients could not stop beaming and thanking the Lifestyle team for presenting them with these amazing gifts.
Client Maurie who is a notorious gardener was incredibly delighted with a new addition to his growing garden as he ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’ at the spinning pinwheel.
While Maria was overwhelmed with gratefulness at the thoughtfulness of her gift and could not wait to test her new gift.
The community of Arcare North Shore is filled with joy and love during this Easter season.
The Lifestyle team at Arcare North Shore has been busy connecting clients with their families via video call, but they have also been finding a way to connect the clients and the community.
Recently, a community project for local North Shore families has been in action called the ‘Teddy Bear Hunt’.
As part of the initiative, children hunt for teddy bears hidden in different places.
So, Arcare North Shore decided to join in with a bit of a twist.
Tracing all of the clients’ hands, we decorated our front fence with everyone’s hands and included two messages. One was ‘Happy Easter’ and the other was ‘We are safe and well in caring hands’.
To make it even more fun for the children to have a look, three Easter bunny rabbits sat atop the fence.
One of the locals was so inspired by our Easter bunny fence that they generously donated a mountain of Easter eggs, along with a lovely note for the grateful clients.
The clients were very happy to participate and marvel at the photos of the decorated fence.
Everyone also thoroughly enjoyed their Easter eggs and we are very thankful to the lovely community of North Shore for their continuous love and support!
Clients at Arcare Oatlands had a fun afternoon getting creative by making their very own Easter hats.
There were lots of laughs and jokes shared as each hat had its own unique look and style.
After they finished making their hats, the clients put them on and had an impromptu hat-modelling session.
One of the clients loved their hat so much that they wore it to the next activity and later on, to the loungeroom to watch TV!
Besides making hats, clients also put their creative skills to the test by making their own Easter cards.
These cards will be sent to their family members, just in time for the upcoming Easter season.
‘Easter’s a time for family but I’m happy that I still get to make these cards for my family. I hope they like it!’ client Barbara shared with us.
As clients might not be able to see them during this Easter period, they are working extra hard to create meaningful Easter cards.
They hope that these cards will reflect their love and well wishes to their loved ones.
‘It’s important for the families and clients to stay connected, so with these cards, the families will be assured that their loved ones are still active and happy.’ Lifestyle Co-ordinator Madeline said.
Ivy and a few other clients at Arcare Parkinson were very excited to receive mail from the children at Bright Start Childcare Centre.
Their one-of-a-kind Easter package contained a hug, a card and a basket full of chocolates.
You might think it’s impossible to send a hug through mail but the children came up with the great idea to ‘Mail a hug’ where they cut out a little human shape with arms that would go around the clients.
On their little human, they had also written sweet messages to the clients wishing them the very best.
‘I am speechless! I miss the kids so much and I feel very blessed to be constantly receiving lovely creations with warmth messages from them. Oh, bless them!’ Ivy said.
The children used to visit Arcare Parkinson regularly and everyone enjoyed every minute of it.
Lifestyle Coordinator Jodie Seehars comments, ‘while clients are unable to see their families, we are trying to brighten up their days. We are hoping to bring some joy and happiness into their day, even if it just something small.’
And this could not be any truer. Even though the children are unable to physically visit the residence, the energy, joy and laughter they bring to each visit is definitely still felt by the clients through their thoughtful Easter package.
Even though Easter was a little different this year, the Arcare Parkview lifestyle team still wanted to celebrate and make the holiday feel special for the community.
Decorations were displayed throughout the residence and and the community hosted an ‘All Day Easter Egg Hunt’ to help get the clients into the Easter spirit.
Team members wore bunny ears for the entire week leading up to Easter, and the fluffy and silly ears never failed to bring a smile to the clients’ faces.
The community’s weekly Happy Hour had an Easter theme last week, with champagne and hot cross buns being served. At Happy Hour, clients were also treated to a special piano concert from the residence’s in-house Physiotherapist, Jo.
It was a great start to the day when Arcare Parkwood received a surprise package from our neighbours, the local kindy, Goodstart Early Learning Parkwood.
Inside the package was a variety of handmade Easter cards, with heartwarming messages written all over.
‘What a lovely surprise, it is so nice of them to think of us!’ a client commented.
Every child from the kindy was involved in the project, from children aged 1 – 4 years old.
We have also decided to write back to them, so this morning, we put on our thinking hats and started creating Easter cards for the children.
When asked about they were feeling, the clients shared, ‘I feel like I’m writing an Easter card to my grandchildren, this just makes my day.’
We will be displaying the cards from the children for everyone to see.
‘This is a great initiative and being able to partner with the local kindy and local community is important to us. These cards also bring a smile to the clients’ faces.’ Lifestyle Coordinator Tadeja shared.
During the Easter weekend, the clients at Arcare Parkwood enjoyed a high tea and also participated in a competition of ‘Guess How Many Chocolate Eggs are in a Jar?’
Del was the winner as she had guessed the closest to the actual number, as a result, she was able to keep the whole jar of chocolates!
Just before the Easter long weekend, the Easter Bunny hopped by the Arcare Reservoir community to help spread the Easter joy.
The Easter Bunny made special visits to each clients’ suite to ensure that they received some delicious chocolate eggs, just in time for the Easter weekend.
The Easter Bunny’s visit surely brought a smile to many faces within the Reservoir community.
On Thursday 9th April, the Arcare Surrey Hills community enjoyed the morning sun and fresh air by having an Easter egg hunt in the courtyard.
The Easter Bunny found an “Eggscellent” excuse to come early and surprise the clients at Surrey Hills.
The clients had a wonderful morning searching the courtyard for some delicious chocolate eggs and rabbits.
Just before the Easter long weekend, the Easter Bunny hopped by the Arcare Sydenham community.
The Easter Bunny’s visit surely brought a smile to many faces within the Sydenham community.
Clients at Arcare Taigum enjoyed an exciting and busy weekend full of Easter-related activities.
On Friday, clients enjoyed delicious hot cross buns while playing a game of Bingo. In the afternoon, they watched an Easter Parade in the Theatre.
On Saturday, clients came together with social distancing in mind, for a game of carpet bowls. They really enjoyed getting a little competitive for this game. For those less inclined to bowl, they were invited to watch the Easter movie ‘Hop’.
To encourage the clients to remain active and fit, the Lifestyle team had hidden chocolate eggs around the residence for clients to find during the Easter Egg Hunt.
On Sunday, the Easter Bunny visited early in the morning and placed an Easter gift on the tables for the clients to wake up to during breakfast. The Easter Bunny also delivered gifts to those who had breakfast in their rooms.
A few clients had asked to watch Easter Services and while some watched Catholic Easter Mass on Channel 7 in their rooms or lounge rooms, others gathered in the Chapel to watch the Anglican service from Gosford and the St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane.
Throughout the Easter weekend, families also rang, Zoomed, Skyped, FaceTimed and delivered small gifts to their loved ones.
On Monday, clients began Easter Monday with a healthy dose of exercise to burn off all the Easter chocolate. This was followed by some mental exercise in the form of an Easter word game.
Clients received a drawing done by our new friend Darcy and in reply, one of the clients did a drawing to send back to him.
The rest of the afternoon was spent on Breezie tablets with clients winding down by emailing, Skyping or playing games.
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Jamie Loh is Arcare's Community Marketing Officer for Queensland. Jamie joined the Arcare team in mid 2019, stepping straight into her responsibilities which include communications with the broader community, community engagement and internal communications responsibilities. Jamie is a firm advocate for consistent communications and engaging ideas to help bridge the gap between those living in aged care residences and the wider communities. Jamie utilises a diverse array of strategies to help improve messaging and boost brand awareness and is always advocating for new methods of communicating in different strategies and mediums. After graduating from Brisbane State High School in 2014, Jamie attended the University of Queensland where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Communications (Public Relations) and Arts (Japanese). During her time at the University of Queensland, Jamie worked with Brisbane's top Public Relations firms and participated in an intensive language program in Tokyo, Japan.