Sep 09, 2020

Victorian drive through parade brings residents and loved ones face-to-face at last

 

Residents and their families were treated to a wonderful afternoon on Monday as staff of a Victorian aged care facility – which has been under lockdown for months – organised a surprise drive-through visit for families and loved ones.

As the cars (and one bike) rolled by, the residents waved and smiled with joy.

The Boort District Health aged care facility has been under lockdown for months due to COVID-19 restrictions, and most residents have not been able to see their loved ones face-to-face at all during that period.

Both residents and staff have been struggling with mental health issues over the months, said nursing unit manager, Mubarak Meerasahib, and this was an opportunity for them to see loved ones in real life, and to have some fun in the beautiful spring weather.

Seizing the beautiful day

The idea came from a carer, who had seen a video of a similar parade from the United States. She asked management why something similar couldn’t be done there – which got them thinking.

When Mr Meerasahib realised Monday was going to be a beautiful, warm spring day, he and other staff decided to seize the moment.

A cyclist waves to residents.
A cyclist waves to residents.

They hastily contacted families to gain their consent, which was happily given.

The event was held at 3.30pm, so that both morning and afternoon staff could attend. 

Fifteen minutes before it was due to begin, the cars were lined up down the street and eventually the facility had to organise traffic control measures!

The residents were brought out into the driveway, and the parade began.

One to one support

The first vehicle to roll through the driveway was a bicycle, with a waving rider. Then the cars started to cruise by, with families and loved ones waving from the windows, the odd pet peeked out, and loved ones waved from sun roofs.

The CEO and administration and support staff were all in attendance so that every resident had someone with them. Drinks were available, and staff helped the residents identify who was driving by – although with it being a small community, many of the faces (and pets) that drove by were already well known.

“It was absolutely amazing,” said one happy resident.

“This is what the residents needed – and their families,” said a visitor, smiling broadly at the camera.

“It was wonderful to see the excitement and joy on their faces. It was really overwhelming,” said Mr Meerasahib.

R U OK?

Tomorrow is both World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK Day. This year has been a tough one for everyone, but particularly for aged care staff and residents who have faced unique and, at times, frightening challenges.

Boort District Health’s drive through visit is a wonderful example of how a simple idea can bring a community together, spark real joy, and create genuine connections. 

Talking about our mental health is more important than ever in the current circumstances, and coming up with creative ways to overcome the challenges is vital.

Remember to ask those who might be struggling with life’s ups and downs if they’re okay tomorrow, and every day.

Visit R U OK day to find out more about how to have these conversations.

 

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  1. Congratulations Boort what a great effort by all concerned, hope other towns all around Australia get behind this idea. You would have made so many lonely elderly people and their family and friends very happy. Best wishes, Jill

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