Aged Care Relationships » Love is in the air at Arcare
February 14, 2020
Written by Rachel Bailey
Love is certainly in the air at the Arcare aged care residences across Australia.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we present to you a number of short but sweet stories of love.
From long-time married couples to special moments between friends, Valentine’s Day is for everyone at Arcare aged care.
On 16th January, John and Jeanette Barklamb celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary at Arcare Brighton.
An intimate dinner was planned by family and the wonderful team at Arcare Brighton. To make the days festivities all the more memorable, rose petals, twinkling fairy lights and candlelight decorated and illuminated the private room. The couple were delighted to see all the decorations.
For dinner, the pair enjoyed gourmet pizza, ice cream and artisan hand-made chocolates from the Mornington Peninsula. The very special evening was the perfect way to celebrate such an enduring friendship, one filled with love, laughter and all the blessings of family.
The Barklamb family would like to give a heartfelt thanks to Arcare Brighton’s lifestyle coordinator, Sophie for creating a simply magical evening; it was much appreciated. “Thank you for the beautiful table and the gift of champagne, it made their evening truly special.”
On Thursday 13th February, the Arcare Carnegie community celebrated Valentine’s Day.
The lifestyle team invited a select number of clients to attend the community’s BBQ Valentine’s Day luncheon. The lifestyle team transformed the residence’s activity room into a romantic dining space, filled with pristine white pressed tablecloths, love-heart decorations and flowers to boot.
For lunch, clients had the option of having delicious gourmet sausages, chicken kebabs, coleslaw, burgers and tossed salad. The food was so delicious, that many back for seconds and even thirds.
The attendees consisted of mostly female clients and close friends, and during the lunch, one team member joked, “We’re not just celebrating Valentine’s Day, we’re celebrating Galentine’s Day.”
Galentine’s Day is a holiday that is celebrates strong female friendships, typically on 13th February; the day before Valentine’s Day.
Many clients looked at each other confused, thinking that they had misheard what the team member had said. However after hearing the explanation and definition, one client replied, “Well I think we should all cheers and drink to that.”
Clients and team members at Arcare Cheltenham were busy decorating the residence and spreading the love on Valentine’s Day morning. The lifestyle team and a group of clients worked tirelessly arranging flowers and creating the perfect Valentines Day banner for the foyer area.
Heart-shaped chocolates, red napkins, fresh flowers and home-made Valentine’s place mats decorated each table in the dining room.
The clients were incredibly proud of their displays and appreciated being involved in the decorating process.
“I used to work in florists,” Client, Norma said. “The smell of the fresh flowers, especially the red roses, takes me back to those busy days, such as Valentine’s Day when I was working in the florist.”
Norma’s comment sparked a vibrant conversation between Norma and client, Maria about flowers. Maria’s family used to own a florist, and she frequently worked there. Maria recalled how she would help her family out every Valentine’s Day by working in the shop, and how she enjoyed arranging the flowers for all the customers.
In the morning, the lifestyle team made a special visits to each client’s room, to hand deliver the hand-made Valentine’s Card from the Birches Early Learning Centre. Each child at the Early Leaning Centre took the time to decorate and write an special card for each client; telling them all much they love visiting them. The thoughtful cards took many of the clients by surprise, and brought smiles to many faces.
“I can’t remember if my husband and I ever celebrated Valentine’s Day; it was such a long time ago.” Client, Joyce recalled, as she looked over the card. “I really miss my husband so much, and on day’s like these, I feel like he is with me. However I’m lucky to be here and to be surrounded by people, who care about me and make me feel special on day’s like these.”
The community were also treated to a special Valentine’s lunch, where the clients were served champagne, chocolate dipped strawberries and decadent cakes for dessert. Pianist, Ernie played serenaded the community, as they enjoyed their special lunch.
After lunch, clients Joyce and Isabel recited one of their favourite quotes to the community:
Here’s to love and those we love
And those who love us too.
To those we would love to love
And those we really do.
To loves long since forgotten.
To loves not yet begun.
Here’s to every lover
Beneath the everlasting sun.
Lois & Brian’s 58th anniversary
Lois and Brian have recently moved into the Arcare Cheltenham community, and in February, the couple celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary.
On Valentine’s Day, the lifestyle team escorted Brian to see his wife, Lois outside in the courtyard. Brian greeted Lois with “Happy Valentine’s Day my love,” and this instantly brought a smile to Lois’ face. The pair’s love for one another is still as strong as ever, as they can often be seen spending time with one another and holding hands around the residence.
Later in the day, Brian recalled to a team member, how he and Lois first met, “We met each other at St Kilda beach, and ever since then we have been attached to one another. You could say it was love at first sight.” The pair met during Brian’s time playing in the AFL for St Kilda; where Brian played over 40 games in the professional league.
When asked, what their secret for their long, happy and loving marriage was, Brian said, “We looked after, and loved our children together, and we never argued; not one.”
For Valentine’s Day the Arcare Craigieburn community organised a special lunch for their couples.
The dining rooms were decorated with fresh red roses, and the clients were delighted to be treated to a special, romantic lunch.
The special menu had been hand selected by residence manager, Judy Edwards, who wanted to ensure that the clients had the most wonderful day and that everyone could feel the love in the air at Arcare.
With a bit of music and a bit of encouragement, the clients at Arcare Helensvale aren’t afraid to show off their dancing skills at their weekly concerts.
With ‘Love is in the Air’ playing across the amplifier, Pam Greenslade and Neil Roffe got up to dance to this classic love song.
After being friends for a few years, they have gotten to know each other’s likes and dislikes.
But it’s obvious to everyone that what they love most is enjoying a good song with their closest friends.
The Arcare Maidstone community celebrated Valentine’s Day with a decadent afternoon tea and romantic musical performance.
Clients were serenaded by performer, Tony Merlino and were treated to a variety of sweet treats and a glass of champagne upon arrival.
Tony’s performance had many up on their feet and dancing and singing around the room. Tony even took the time to slow dance with a few clients, whom he had formed a close bond with over his time visiting the community.
At the end of day, every client and team member received a red rose from Arcare Maidstone to show their love ad appreciation for every member of their community.
With Valentine’s Day looming, thoughtful and romantic gestures have begun to transpire throughout the Arcare Malvern East community.
Long-time friends, Margaret and Leon absolutely adore one another, and their flirtation is forever ongoing. The pair enjoy attending most of the community’s lifestyle activities together, and they have even been known to share a slow dance or two at one of the residence’s many concerts.
Many within the community, like to joke that Leon is one of Margaret’s boyfriends, as she always calls Leon by a pet name such as darling. However the incessant joking always makes Leon blush, as he is a true gentlemen, and they are nothing more than good friends.
This year for Valentine’s Day, Margaret surprised Leon with a delicious block of Darrell Lea chocolate and a kiss on the cheek, saying, “This is for you my love, Happy Valentine’s Day!”. Leon kindly accepted with a childish grin on his face.
Arcare North Lakes is known for their love of concerts.
And any activity related to music is certainly a popular one.
For Valentine’s Day, the clients were treated to a surprise concert with a bit of a twist.
They were being filmed for a special Valentine’s Day montage across all of Arcare.
With DIY paper hearts and hearts full of excitement, the clients at Arcare North Lakes were also joined by team members for a fun and interactive performance.
Generous community members, Anastasia and George didn’t want anyone to feel left out this Valentine’s Day.
Having never visited any Arcare residence before, Anastasia and George made the trip to ensure that every client received a rose on Valentine’s Day.
The beautiful pair spread the joy, by hand delivered the roses to clients during lunchtime. Anastasia presented the roses to all of the male clients, and George gifted the roses to all of the female clients.
Beaming smiles could be seen around the room, as the clients accepted the generous gifts.
Many clients were stunned and simply couldn’t understand why people they had never met would be so loving towards them.
Anastasia simply replied with, “To give love in life, means you will receive love.”
The clients and team at Arcare Oatlands are incredibly thankful and appreciative to Anastasia and George, to making their Valentine’s Day memorable.
Many of the Arcare residences have very active and mobile clients, who are keen to get involved in different sorts of activities.
And the clients and team members at Arcare Parkinson are a great example of that.
From mini-golf to chair Zumba, they are an adventurous bunch.
In preparation for Valentine’s Day, they have been practicing for the ‘Love is in the Air’ video.
The video montage was Jodie, the Arcare Parkinson’s Lifestyle Co-ordinator’s idea to spread some love.
They have also created a Love Wall featuring photos of couples.
On Valentine’s Day, the clients at Arcare Parkview were serenaded by violinist, Jozsef during their lunch. He played romantic music, old favorites and even an Austrian polka! The lifestyle team decorated the dining rooms with love-hearts and pink and red coloured decorations. Clients were gifted and treated to a delicious Haigh’s love-heart chocolate and some sweet words; a beautiful gift from the Arcare Parkview team. Team members were also encouraged to come to work dressed in red and pink, to help spread the love around the community!
It was a morning filled with confetti, sweets and music when Arcare Parkwood held a morning tea with a Valentine’s Day theme.
The cheery group of clients chatted and laughed the morning away while sipping on their hot teas.
They also learnt that love can come in many different forms – whether it’s romantic love, familial love or self-love – all are important in shaping who we are.
In the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, Arcare Point Lonsdale couple, Ruth and David went on a romantic bike ride around the local street and Point Lonsdale beach.
The couple cosied up together on Arcare Point Lonsdale’s Cycling Without Age bike, as they shared the highlights of their long marriage and relationship with lifestyle coordinator, Amida.
Chocolate coated strawberries, roses and heart-shaped chocolates were handed out to members of the Arcare Reservoir community on Valentine’s Day.
The sweet gifts made many within the community blush. “We hope that our gifts made everyone feel special and appreciated.” Lifestyle coordinator, Nickie said.
In the afternoon, the Reservoir community hosted Happy Hour where everyone raised a glass of champagne to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day.
The Arcare Sanctuary Manors choir truly enjoy getting in front of a crowd and singing for them.
And for each performance, they create handmade shirts or accessories to suit the mood.
They also choreograph movements to dance in sync to the song.
In the end, they all have a bit of fun too as they joke and laugh together.
On a rainy afternoon at Arcare Slacks Creek, clients and team members were surprised to see a group of enthusiastic clients gathered together for a special sing-along.
Lifestyle assistant Michelle was there to provide prompts to their synchronised actions.
And as they sang along to ‘Love is in the Air’, some could not help but be a little cheeky by joking that Jack was the thorn among the roses.
With his great sense of humour, Jack cheerfully joked along with them and said that he was the rose among the thorns.
Surrounded by friends, families and loved ones, some clients at Arcare St James made themselves comfy in their residence lounge room as they shared their Valentine’s Day stories.
One couple have been married for 68 years!
A few of the other couples were also in a lovey dovey mood as they planted a kiss on their partner’s cheek.
Arcare Sydenham clients, Margaret and Raymond Schuck were married on Valentine’s Day in 1986.
Margaret and Ray describe their story as ‘love at first sight’. The pair were both ‘ten pound poms’, coming to Australia in 1950. Ray came in March that year and Margaret came in August.
They lived in Melbourne and it was only until later in life, after they had both been in previous marriages, that they met and fell in love.
They met at a retirement seminar hosted by Westpac and hit it off straight away, according to Ray.
Ray recounted, “The people at the seminar thought we were married but we had only just met!”
It was at dinner on the first night when they first locked eyes. Ray, a talented artist, began sketching candid scenes at the dinner table. Fellow guests admired his work and passed it around to show everyone. When the sketch reached Margaret, she looked over to see who the artist was. Margaret smiles as she remembers his blue eyes twinkling that night.
They were engaged after a month and married after three months.
Margaret and Raymond both moved into Arcare in November 2017, and they enjoy attending a variety of lifestyle activities together.
This year, the couple will be celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary on Valentine’s Day. The Arcare Sydenham lifestyle team have organised a romantic candle lit lunch for them both, to celebrate the occasion.
Rachel Bailey is the Community Marketing Officer for Victoria. Rachel has been with Arcare since February 2018, when she started in the role of Relationship Coordinator. Rachel has previously worked in a wide range of roles that equipped her for her responsibilities as Arcare's Community Marketing Officer for Victoria. Rachel has previously held marketing roles and administration roles in a range of industries, earning a range of valuable communications skills that she brings to her role today. Rachel attended Lyndhurst Secondary College in Cranbourne, Victoria, graduating with her Victorian Certificate of Education in 2014. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Communication and Media Studies & Public Relations in 2017. Rachel is passionate about her work and believes that strong communication strategies are the key to creating a closer connection between residents in aged care communities and the wider community. Rachel is a firm believer in regular communications to help friends and family keep updated on the lives of their loved ones who are enjoying life in Arcare residences.