Meet the aged care residents who travel more than you!
On any given day, the residents at Bupa Aged Care Caulfield can be found hopping from Malta, to Holland, South East Asia and back again before dinner.
Their travel itinerary is not restricted by the usual limitations of time or money, nor are there any concerns about lining up for hours at an airport terminal. That's because they’re travelling the world through Google Street View.
Mark Lewis is a resident whose ailments make real world traveling very difficult. But the virtual travel pioneered by the home’s chef, Margaret Mould have become a breath of fresh air for him and others within the home.
"I've been overseas quite a bit over the past few years and every time I return, I bring my experiences back with me,” Ms Mould said.
I thought about the amount of Europeans we have in our home and thought about my own dad and the fact that he, like many in the home, may not be able to fly back to their homes.
“I initially started taking a couple of residents on tours of their home towns through Google street view and it has been really well received so I started doing it in groups,” she said.
As a ten year old living in Malta, Mr Lewis vividly remembers black smoke looming across the horizon near his home. It wasn’t long before he and his neighbours fled the Siege of World War II.
“I lived in Battery Street, our home overlooked Valletta and the Grand Harbour. I still have distinct memories of battle ships crowding the port. It was quite a dramatic spot to live in because you were literally looking down at the ships,” Mr Lewis said.
“We actually lived in rock shelters for days at a time during the war. My uncle dug a great big hole in his lounge room and built a tunnel with 5 chambers,” he said.
"I was ten when I left and although I am very grateful to be a citizen in Australia, I'm equally as grateful for my heritage. Interestingly enough, I still have 30 odd cousins and a 90 year old aunt over there.”
The technology means residents can overcome mobility and accessibility issues to go on computer generated journeys, fly around town, go on safari, sit under the Colosseum or even explore the Grand Canyon.
“Once a month we travel through different countries - so far, we’ve digitally travelled to Malta, Italy, Holland, some Asian countries and South Africa.”
"When you get to your 80s’, you start to look back at your life and it’s nice to have happy memories.”