27 October 2021
As seen in the Border Mail, October 9, 2020
It's been a while between dances, but Gabrielle Hall was finally gifted the opportunity to watch her granddaughter Georgia Robertson perform again on Thursday. Residents at Albury's Estia Health had their toes tapping and hands clapping for a special concert put on by young border dancers in an effort to lift spirits.
Staff and residents at the Thurgoona aged care home were able to view the performances from inside the facility, while dancers performed ballroom and theatrical numbers outside in order to comply with NSW's COVID-19 restrictions.
After battling through what has been a tough year for families, Georgia's mum Bronwyn thought up the idea as a way to fill the home with smiles again.
"I think the residents have found it really hard because they haven't been able to interact with their families," Mrs Robertson said.
"You can't cuddle them or anything like that, so it's been tough.
"I noticed that with families not being able to visit, the residents haven't had anyone in to play the piano for them like they usually do.
"The staff have been trying to give them activities to do in-house but there's no real entertainment.
"It's basically just to put a smile on their face and get their hands clapping again."
It's basically just to put a smile on their face and get their hands clapping again.
While Mrs Robertson has now been able to visit her mum, the closest contact she'd previously been able to have during the pandemic was via Facetime.
This isn't the first time the aged care residents have enjoyed a dance concert performed by the talented youngsters.
Estia Health Albury's executive director Kelly Hayes said she was delighted when Mrs Robertson approached her with the idea.
"We were more than happy to facilitate it to try and lift their spirits and have something positive happen at the moment," Mrs Hayes said.
We were more than happy to facilitate it to try and lift their spirits and have something positive happen at the moment,
"She's put on a number of concerts before for our residents."
Mrs Hayes agreed it had been a particularly challenging year for residents and staff in aged care.
"Especially with all of the changes, it's really hard to try and keep them positive," she said.
And the residents weren't the only ones to get a kick out of the performance.
With COVID-19 restrictions impacting youngsters’ ability to dance and perform for most of the year, Mrs Robertson said it wasn't hard to find volunteers.
"They're busting to get out and perform because all of the competitions and eisteddfods have been locked down," she said.
Mrs Hayes agreed that the one-hour performance, which included the cha-cha and a hip-hop duo, was beneficial for all parties.
"It's really good for everyone," Mrs Hayes said.