Gift of song lifts aged care spirits
21st December 2020
Following a challenging year for all at her aged care home, Colton Close Registered Nurse/After Hours Manager, Susan Marsh worked out of hours for months during Melbourne’s second wave to prepare a very special rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight.
With lyrics recrafted to capture the spirit of Benetas’ Colton Close aged care home, and participation by dozens of the team and residents, her Christmas gift certainly raised spirits across the home.
"People on my team work extra hard throughout the year, they picked up extra shifts, and went the extra mile," Sue said. “I really wanted to give something back.”
After seeing the joy the song had brought to her grandson, she worked with her son to rewrite the lyrics and asked one of the Personal Care Assistants to sing and play the guitar for the piece.
“When I finished a night shift I would quickly see who could help with singing and dancing some of the lyrics. The residents then became interested and they started to get involved.
“It really generated much greater impact across the home than I set out to do!”
Asked about the year that’s been for people in aged care, Sue says that despite hits to morale, in many ways it worked to bring the team together.
“We were on the frontline and I could see the potential for it all to be devastating, but I also saw people share great kindness day in day out.
“The courage and dedication of the people I worked with was something else. It was tough goings at times, particularly during the second wave when morale was low, and the team continued to turn up to extra shifts and go that extra mile.
Sue said the aged care employees now work better as a team. “Look, it’s been hard on everyone, no matter what profession you are in – but at the end of the year I think it’s important to remember that the testing times can also bring out the best in us and call on us to be more caring of those we work with.
“After a long and diverse career in nursing, aged care is the most complex and rewarding career you can have. You work with these beautiful people, who often require residential aged care from no choice of their own.
“It can be so profoundly difficult for both themselves and their families and you as a team have a massive responsibility to look after them holistically, provide pain management and palliative care, and have an impact on their quality of life each and every day.”
“At the end of the year, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Pictured: Sue Marsh, Registered Nurse/After Hours Manager and Meagan Goodall, Clinical Services Manager both from Colton Close aged care home.