It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

With only 10 more sleeps before Christmas Day, the spirit of the festive season is spreading fast. From the circulation of messages of good will, to Chrissy lunches and facility parties, the time to celebrate is nigh!

Above: Tall Trees Rochedale resident, Sally Spurgin, puts her Chrissy spirit and charitable nature to good use.

By Yasmin Noone

The spirit of the festive season is alive and well in aged care facilities around the country.

Messages of good will are being spread from stakeholder to provider, while stories of kind and charitable acts are making the rounds.

In the Queensland city of Logan, a Tall Trees Rochedale resident has taken it upon herself to provide for children in need, having sewn, knitted and weaved more than 500 items for her cause.

Sally Spurgin, aged 73, will donate hand-made knitted animals, fabric dolls, shirts, shorts, dresses and pajamas to Project Love and Care, a charity which aims to provide children and teenagers in foster care with basic necessities.

Ms Spurgin, who became involved with the charity in December 2008- just one month after she moved permanently to Australia from the UK- now calls upon her local community to provide similar assistance to those less fortunate this Christmas.

“Things happen over Christmas that should never happen at this time of year but they do, anyway,” Ms Spurgin said.

“There really is an added need for assistance to make a difference to the lives of young people who may be going through a rough time this holiday season, particularly when for others its a time of such happiness.”

While some of the products such as toiletries and underwear need to be purchased new, other items such as clothes and toys can be donated second hand or made from scratch. All donated items are sent to the Department of Communities or to the police to be distributed to children up to the age of 17.

For more information about the charity, click here.

Above: Villa Maria Berwick resident meets Santa

Tis the season for a panto

Villa Maria’s Berwick aged care facility (Vic) took residents back to a time when pantos and Christmas went hand in hand, hosting a traditional pantomime production at the annual Residents and Relatives Christmas Lunch last week.

Four older people and two carers from the residence – run by not-for-profit aged and disability services organisation Villa Maria – took to the stage to perform Pinocchio after months of rehearsals and hard work.

Villa Maria Berwick’s lifestyle coordinator, Ester O’Brien, said family members, fellow residents, staff members and friends really enjoyed the production.

“It’s the first year we’ve done live entertainment from the residents and they’ve been absolutely loving the process,” Ms O’Brien said.

“For some of them, their first initial reaction was ‘no, I couldn’t do that’, but they [came] to rehearsals with their scripts all ready to go.”

Before the panto, residents were entertained by children from nearby Fleetwood Primary School, singing Christmas carols.
Ms O’Brien said staff have also worked particularly hard to make sure the 60 residents felt valued and important around Christmas, with feeling of isolation and loneliness commonly heightened during this time.

Above: Villa Maria resident, Max, receives his gift from Santa

Warm greetings from Canberra

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, has wished veterans and their families a safe and happy Christmas and New Year period.

“I hope that our veterans, serving men and women, ex-service communities and their families enjoy the holiday season and have a well-deserved break,” Mr Snowdon said.

“In particular, my thoughts are with the families and friends who have lost loved ones this year in Afghanistan, for them I expect Christmas will be a difficult time.”

Acknowledging that the festive season can also be a challenging and lonely time, Mr Snowden urged everyone in the community to take a moment to think about those who may be on their own this year.

“I ask everyone to think of others this Christmas, please take the time to visit elderly relatives, drop around to your neighbour’s house or give them a call and make sure that all is well.”

During this time, a range of important Department of Vetran Affairs (DVA) services will be available to the veteran community including:

• Crisis counselling – 24-hour crisis counselling through Veterans’ Line.  This service is available toll free on 1800 011 046 to veterans of all conflicts and their families, including members of peace operations;

• Transport – while the transport booking service will be closed, transport remains available if it is booked prior to the Christmas period, alternatively it can be paid for up-front and reimbursement sought from DVA at a later date;

• Hospital admissions – doctors can admit DVA patients into hospital and request admissions approval, if required, when DVA reopens on Tuesday 3 January 2011; and

• Defence Services Homes Insurance – help with policy and claim enquiries is available 24-hours a day on 1300 552 662, while payments can be made on 1300 304 989 for the cost of a local call or through the website

Pension pay days will not be affected by the Christmas and New Year arrangements.

“Again, I wish all veterans and their families a very happy Christmas and New Year,” he said.

Tags: christmas, department-of-veterans-affairs, logan, project-love-and-care, rochedale, snowden, tall, tall-trees, villa-maria,

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