Community card making breaks isolation

November 29, 2021 BY

Crafting: The Long Gully Neighbourhood Centre’s Creative Cards group is making Christmas cards for aged care residents at Estia Health. Photo: KATIE MARTIN

MEMBERS of the Long Gully Neighbourhood Centre’s Creative Cards group know the simple act of sending a birthday, greeting or Christmas card can have a profound impact on those most isolated in society.

They meet fortnightly to craft cards for the 47 residents at Estia Health Aged Care, and they’re now busily working ahead of the holiday season.

The group formed last year in the thick of COVID-19 lockdowns when community development worker at LGNC, Kerry Parry, said those in aged care were particularly disconnected.

“We felt like we were in this little bubble and thought ‘what about the people in aged care who are almost in a prison because they can’t have visitors?’,” she said.

Personalised, handmade cards are addressed to all 47 residents at Estia Health. Photo: KATIE MARTIN

“We came up with the idea of making little encouragement cards to say to the residents that someone’s thinking of you even though you’re isolated.”

This year will mark the second delivery of Christmas cards to the facility and the group has also supplied blank cards for residents to take free of charge to send to their loved ones on special occasions.

“Each time they’re received we get photos of the residents with their faces all lit up and I think for some of them it’s the only card they get,” Ms Parry said.

“It’s quite sad, with social media and everything else we’re moving away from the personalised touch of a card or letter.

“A phone call or visit is great, but it’s gone in the blink of an eye. A card, you’ve got it forever. You can pull it out, reread it and just be reminded that someone cares about you.

Estia Health residents received a handmade card and chocolates from the LGNC’s Creative Cards group last year. Photo: SUPPLIED

“The card making group is helping rejuvenate that written word.”

Having never set foot in the aged care centre due to COVID-19 restrictions, Ms Parry said the LGNC played an important role in helping to bridge gaps in the community.

“People love caring for other people, but you don’t always have the ability to connect firsthand with them. We can be that conduit of joy for people,” she said.

“For all of us, we want to be able to connect with our community and with COVID restrictions that can sometimes be really difficult.

“Our hope is that sooner or later, perhaps next year when COVID settles a little more, we may be able to invite some of the residents to our community garden and have an afternoon tea.”