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COVID-19: Residents keep busy at home

Written by Margot Taylor
on March 26, 2020

COVID-19 has forced a hush to fall over Nellie Melba Retirement Village but behind apartment doors residents are finding new ways to keep busy.

Since communal activities were suspended at the village on March 16, and non-essential visits to the village ceased on March 23, residents have been encouraged to use phone calls and Skype to catch up with family to ensure they do not become socially isolated while laying low.

The village is also working on new ways to ensure activities can continue.

For Ian Tucker, the halt to activities and life outside the village has provided an opportunity to work on something he has been meaning to do “for many years”.

“I’m sitting down doing the family tree.

“It’s a fair bit of work, so it seems a good thing to be doing during this strange situation.”

Upstairs, Stephen and Anne Thek (pictured) are also using the time to document family history.

Stephen is digitalising family photos, while Anne is filling her days doing jigsaws, knitting and reading.

June Cairns has set up a space in her apartment to workout so she can maintain the fitness she gained at weekly yoga, Tai Chi and exercise classes at the village.

She says the only experience in life she has had that comes close to the response to COVID-19 was as a five-year-old in Toowoomba.

“My dad was in the Army and I can remember having to walk over to a big shed with my mum with coupons so we could get things like sugar and flour.”

Max and Heather BeattieMax and Heather Beattie inside their Nellie Melba Retirement Village apartment. 

Avid bowler Max Beattie says while hopes of games on the green are temporarily on hold, the pandemic also marks the end of an era in his life, and in that of many of his peers.

“We’ve never experienced anything like this, up until this point we’ve led a marvellous life.

“I was born during the Depression, but I wasn’t old enough to be aware, and then I started work in the late forties, after the war.

“It’s been a remarkably incident-free era, and life, as far as we are concerned.

“This is certainly a unique experience,” Max says.

“But we feel safe here.”

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