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Christmas gift lifts spirits at aged care home

24th December 2019

Residents, carers and their families are making the tour of Louie’s room at Benetas’ Glenroy aged care facility, Colton Close, a must for Christmas this year.

Filled entirely with handmade decorations that have been created over the course of the month, the room is lit up with dozens of origami, branches from eucalyptus trees and hanging stars that each come with a meaningful message of peace, family and Christmas.

Residential Facility Manager Cheryl McNab, said that Luong Tieu, a Personal Carer at the Glenroy home who is commonly known as Louie, had pursued the project over many hours outside of his shift to create a festive reflection space for those missing loved ones at this time.

“The detail he’s created to capture the essence of Christmas is utterly incredible with everything handmade and filled with symbolism and meaning that have brought tears to our eyes,” she said.

“Louie has included a memorial for Rita, one of our much loved residents who passed away this year. He’s also cut out stars for us to write the names of someone we have lost or who we’ve been separated from, which he then hangs up without fail every night.”

Ms McNab notes how cathartic this room has become not only Louie, but for all who visit.

“Working in our sector, and through our own personal lives, many of us have lost people very dear to us. Louie has created a space that has helped remember and pay tribute to them at this time of year.

“It’s also a beautiful space for us to think of those affected by the bushfires and acknowledge the impact of climate change. We are all incredibly grateful for this Christmas gift that Louie has shared with us.”

Louie pays particular tribute to his family at and reflects on his time growing up in Vietnam.

“I had a very different experience of Christmas growing up, but I have really wanted this space to connect to the experience and environment that we have in Australia.”

“Christmas is a very important time for me and many of the residents I work with. I really hope this room, previously mostly forgotten and unused, now brings great joy to those who visit.”

The materials used are all from recycled paper, knitted decorations from residents and their families, and branches that had already fallen from the garden.

The room will stay decorated into the New Year, and Colton Close welcomes families and Glenroy community to share in his work.