'It's about time we promoted positive ageing'
30 May 2015
Revellers came from all over Melbourne to kick up their heels and their wheels at the Celebration of Life at Collingwood Town Hall on Wednesday 25 May.
Manager of the Brotherhood of St Laurence Sambell Lodge aged care residence in Clifton Hill, Paul Brophy has organised the biannual event since 2006. It draws together residents, staff, volunteers, family and friends from Sambell Lodge and about 20 aged care organisations each time it is held, attracting 300 people this time round.
The theme of this Celebration, Rio Carnival, evoked the vitality of the carnival and the triumphant spirit of the Olympics set to take place in Rio later this year.
‘It’s a big collaboration. I work with people from aged care organisations far and wide. This year we had people from Preston, Northcote, Camberwell, Balwyn, South Melbourne, South Yarra, St Kilda…everyone wants to get on board when they hear about it,’ Paul said.
‘It’s also a chance to bring together people from different cultural communities - the Greek community, the Chinese community, the Indigenous community.’
Larger than life celebrity priest Father Bob Maguire opened the event, with warm words of welcome, while Sambell Lodge friend, Len Miller lit the room with good spirits, power- walking in with the “Olympic torch”.
‘Len’s brother lived at Sambell Lodge, and even though his brother has passed away, he still volunteers with us,’ Paul said. ‘It just shows the sense of community.’
City of Yarra Mayor Roberto Colanzi acknowledged Traditional Owners and paid respects to their Elders, past and present. Then 27-piece big band, the Huffers and the Puffers got people up on their feet, their walking frames and in their wheelchairs to the dance floor.
‘It’s about time we got on the front foot and promoted positive ageing, and there’s no better way than people in wheelchairs dancing,’ Paul said. ‘There’s a tidal wave of baby boomers who are retiring and are about to enter aged care residences, so it’s important to recognise that and support them to age well.’