Cruising – Again (Community story)

Community Story

By Margaret Long © Dementia Care International

Margaret Long, DON of Wyong Aged Care, shares news of how a recent disaster by Mother Nature was turned to a positive experience and sparked a now regular, joyful activity for both staff and residents.

On the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, storms ravaged the Central Coast of NSW causing major flooding. Wyong Aged Care Facility needed to evacuate 65 frail aged residents and 17 staff as the river rose and cut off access.

Both residents and staff remained calm as they were evacuated in boats by the SES & Ambulance Service.

The non-ambulant, more dependant residents were transferred to Gosford Hospital, whilst the more mobile residents were sent to Wyong Golf Club where they enjoyed watching the football on a “big screen” TV, ordering drinks from the bar and playing the pokies.

Following this amazing adventure and in keeping with the positive approach to the experience, also as a way of debriefing after the flood, the staff decided to take the residents on a “Cruise to Hawaii”.

The day was a great success co-ordinated by activities officer, Justeen Sorger, and ably assisted by 1st Mate Belinda Wilson and Chef Michael Douglas. Residents, with stamped passports and boarding passes in hand, colourful leis around their necks, excitedly joined the boat for their cruise.

“Love Boat” style entertainment was provided by “Marion & Philly”, with hula dancing by the staff – guaranteeing a good laugh for everyone. The highlight of the “cruise” was the magnificent Captain’s lunch with delicious cocktails proving a real winner.

The cruise was so successful that the residents will be regularly taking their passports and eagerly getting them stamped at their next port of call. Our next cruise headed off to the North Pole for Christmas in July.

Who knows where we might go to next?