Memory. All through the day not a resident was stirring as they waited to see who would win in the inaugural Light Up the Park competition.
A suggestion made by staff member Jane Ollington to lift the spirits of the Emmerton Park family is bringing joy this Christmas.
“We’ve had a pretty hard year, we needed something to brighten up the residents’ and staff’s lives,” she says.
Friendly rivalry was rife as they all set out to deck the halls and any open space or cosy nook in the aged care facility, some staying up til midnight or rising early to tinker with their corner with just one week to bring the festive feature to fruition.
Imagine more than 60 room doors decorated plus the dining room, social lounges and the halls festively brightened up by residents, family members, staff, volunteers and contributions from local students.
A makeshift fireplace is aglow at the door of Ivy Furphy’s room, a masterpiece of her grandchildren while a cool snowman stands to attention at Meg Walker’s room.
A magical corridor now connects the dining room with Leisure and Lifestyle in a winter wonderland of snowflakes.
At the nurses lounge, stockings hang waiting to be filled by donations from Woolworths on Christmas Eve.
Judged by Kim and Gerald Kay, who described the scene as an “uplifting and beautiful experience”, the pair had a hard time picking the best of the bunch.
“From being greeted at the front door by a living nativity scene to discovering snowy footsteps in one of Santa’s workshops . . . the ingenuity, hard work and compassionate thought that went into the making and decoration of all areas of the home was truly remarkable,” Kim said.
“We could easily have written up another two winners’ lists such was the high standard of everyone’s work.
“We both had to come home, take a quiet moment and reflect on the amazing community we live in.”
Prizes were presented to winners and runners up in several categories including best room door in both the east and west wings, going to Mrs Walker and Mrs Furphy respectively and runners up Richard Heran and Lorna Wigg.
In memory of residents who have passed this year, in a spot in the dining room where the sunshine filters through, a Christmas tree sits bearing the names of these much loved people on baubles.
At the top is the late chief executive officer Robert Barden.
And though a magnificent tree stands tall at the other end of the dining room, named best of several dozen scattered throughout the home, a special mention went to this tribute tree.
A delicate trim of tinsel and lights lines the halls with the added touch of handmade crafts by local students. Adorned by carers, the halls were deemed the best decorated area while the courtyard, decorated by services staff, was runner up.
Dressing up the door of Lois Pearse were the best homemade decorations while special mentions went to the winter wonderland walkway, an Aussie Christmas nurses’ station, and the North Pole in the Cosy Corner.
“It has blown us away a bit,” Kim said.
“Thank you to all who contributed to this massive team effort. There really is only one winner here and that is Emmerton Park.”
Community members are invited to view the festive creations before the Emmerton Park Christmas Carols on Monday (December 18) from 7pm.