Entertainment is even more essential in lockdown and one staff member at Evelyn Page Retirement Village in Ōrewa came up with a novel idea.
Marien Fabillar coordinates activities for the village’s rest home residents. She arranged for her son Maddox, aged seven, to play piano over Zoom for the residents.
The residents watched while sitting socially distanced in the lounge area.
Maddox is a Whangaparāoa School student who learns piano at Matakatia Music School.
He played about 11 short pieces, including the first songs he learnt like Old McDonald Had a Farm and When the Saints go Marching In.
Marien says the residents encouraged him by singing along and Maddox enjoyed the response. This gave him the confidence to play more, including My Heart Will Go On as well as the Lord of the Rings theme song, In Dreams.
“The residents were amazed at first that Maddox was talking back to us from the television,” Marien says. “Their encouragement made them the most adorable audience.”
Marien’s nephew Nathan Cazar, 11,did the same thing for other residents too.
Life in an isolated bubble is hard, and retirement villages are finding ways to keep everyone involved in activities. Evelyn Page is running a Life in your Bubble photo competition and has reinstated its online Virtual Village, which can be accessed by people outside the village as well. It includes quizzes, exercise classes, videos and tips for connecting via WhatsApp and Facebook and doing online grocery shopping. There are celebrity talks via Zoom, winemaker Gordon Russell gave an education session and there are live online performances. Residents entering the Ryman Covid Cupboard Challenge search their cupboards for ingredients and create a dish. They email the recipe and a photo of the finished dish for judging by chef Brett McGregor, who will cook the winner’s dish live via Zoom.