Celebrating a different kind of Anzac Day
Our aged care homes didn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic get in the way of the Anzac spirit.
Bupa homes across Australia and New Zealand stopped to mark Anzac Day through closed ceremonies and acknowledge the service of those in the armed forces, past and present, many of whom are also aged care residents or, employees. This is how some of our homes recognised the day.
Bupa Berwick resident, Stanley Excell, has a special connection to the day with his mother, father and two uncles all serving. At Bupa Berwick’s Anzac Day event, Stanley took great pride in showing his family photograph and sharing his story.
Stanley’s mother, Hazel was a nurse, who passed away in her late 60s. His father Joseph was sent to France in the First World War. Despite receiving a gunshot wound to his right shoulder during the War, Joseph lived out his days as a farmer until he passed at the age of 101. Unfortunately, his two uncles, Thomas and Percy, passed during the War.
As a veteran himself, putting on an Anzac Day to remember for his residents was particularly important to acting General Manager at Bupa Traralgon, Andrew Bonnitcha. Andrew served in the Royal Australian Airforce for more than 30 years.
While residents would normally attend the local community event, this year they held a closed ceremony which included the Ode to the Fallen read by one of the residents, John Elsum, who served with the Royal Australian Navy in World War II.
While Bupa Eden residents and employees missed the usual buzz of support of the local RSL, they were grateful to be able to enjoy a smaller gathering at the care home to commemorate the day and remember those who served.
The day wouldn’t have been complete without enjoying a morning tea of homemade Anzac biscuits.
At Bupa Glenvale in Toowoomba, residents stepped in to help out with the service by performing parts of the ceremony that would normally be done by visiting service men and women.
Residents sang the national anthem, read the Ode and raised and lowered the Australian flag. They also laid homemade wreaths and enjoyed a barbecue and a quiet drink to complete the day. The team at Glenvale said this year was particularly special with residents taking on ownership of the event.
Residents at Bupa Cedar Manor in Tauranga planted poppies to remember the fallen Anzac soldiers. Residents held the New Zealand flag as they shared stories about their own family members going off to war. With some residents just children themselves at the time, they recalled great challenges and hardship at home while the men were off fighting in battle.
Bupa Tararu and Bupa Winara commemorated Anzac Day by making their own poppies. Many homes held ceremonies and participated in the virtual Dawn Service.