Sep 30, 2020

Jet setting from the ground: the Mildura aged care home taking residents on tours of the world

Residents of Princes Court Homes in Mildura have been traveling the world during a time where almost all flights are grounded and the rest of us have been suffering from itchy travel feet. Lifestyle coordinator Colleen Lewis is the brain behind each trip and has been acting as tour guide as residents ready their passports and take off on their adventures. 

Imitating the feeling of heading off to a new and exciting international location, videos of plane take off and landing sequences are projected while residents sit in rows, and so the adventure begins. The immersive travel sessions include videos of the sights and sounds of each new country and city, as well as local food offered for afternoon tea and dressing up in the national costumes of that day’s country. 

And if a dress up costume can’t be found, Colleen gets to crafting. “If we can’t purchase the costume from that country, we’ll make them,” she told the ABC.

“So we made Mickey Mouse ears for Disneyland and we had Hawaiian leis.”

Since April, the residents have visited Italy, Scotland, Honolulu, London, Ireland, Crete, Disneyland and Mexico all from the comfort of their homes living room. 

“They get to see the culture, hear the music, see what sort of food they have, see the countryside,” said Colleen.

Their most recent trip to Mexico included Mexican fruit cake for morning tea, sombreros and colourful ponchos, and a piñata for a bit of added fun. 

Seventeen residents boarded the flight to Mexico and explored the streets of a new country as videos of Mexico’s best tourist spots played on the projector. 

“I think it made everybody so happy and I loved it. It keeps us young,” said resident, Alice Griffiths. 

Residents have responded so well to these regular international holidays that they’re starting to offer their own suggestions. 

Belsey Thomas, who has not missed a trip, has her fingers crossed for Switzerland next. 

“It’s the cheapest way to travel,” she said, suggesting that the aged care home set it’s air conditioning to a chilly temperature, and holiday makers sample Swiss chocolate for morning tea. 

Taking international trips from the comfort of your lounge chair is an excellent way to have some immersive and escapist holiday fun. And with 195 countries, there’s no shortage of places to go. 

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