Residents drive down memory lane

Father’s Day is almost upon us, which means spending time with the men you love. Even if that includes watching them admire the cars of yesteryear at Bupa Aged Care Bankstown.

For 95-year-old resident Bill Prigg, it’ll be a vintage Ford Falcon he once owned and the chance of reuniting with his old car club that’ll bring back the most memories.

Among the attendees will be car enthusiast and Old Motoring Club Secretary, Tracy Cutrupi, who’ll bring her 1962 Chevrolet Belair for the residents to reminisce over.

“The car belonged to my father, he bought it brand new and I’ve owned it ever since he passed away,” Mrs Cutrupi said.

“The Chevy was our family car then, and now, I use it to take my family to our Sunday club events and to special gatherings such as the Father’s Day Show at Bupa Bankstown for our mate Bill.”

Some want experiences, and others want cars, but the show kicks off at 10am on Saturday, 1 September at 82 Allum St, Yagoona for those who want the best of both worlds.

“Bill is unable to come to us so we are going to Bupa Bankstown for a surprise visit,” Mrs Cutrupi said.

“Bill and his wife Mavis were the founders of the Old Motoring Club and so when Bill retired as secretary in 2013, I filled the position with Bill close by my side. Bill and Mavis would always receive a hand delivered copy of the monthly club journal and believe it or not, I still do it now.

He (Bill) isn’t just an ex-member, he is a member of our family who created a legacy and culture within the club
Tracy Cutrupi, Old Motoring Club Secretary

Bupa Bankstown Recreational Activities Officer, Ruth O'Toole, said that while the event is open to the public, the day is about making the residents happy.

"The sheer joy that cars from their era bring to the home is astounding - they start talking about their first dates and their first car and all the things they did in them. This is a priceless experience for all the residents at our home and an event I’m really looking forward to,” Ms O’Toole said.

A point which was reaffirmed by Bupa’s Head of Dementia Services, Margaret Ryan, who said the day will be about bringing like-minded people together irrespective of what they drive.

A classic car show is a social way to relieve stress and engage in meaningful and joyful conversations with our residents. For people living with dementia, keeping active and socially engaged is wonderful for their self-esteem and general wellbeing. For older people, their risk of dementia may be reduced when they are connecting and reconnecting with what they love and enjoy,” Ms Ryan said.

Classic cars are a form of nostalgic therapy for our residents. In what other way can someone choose an era where they’d like to return? They simply choose the year of car, pick a model, pick a colour, tune into their favourite AM radio station and they’re instantly transported back to a time and place of their choice. It is a virtual reality for those who were born before the term virtual reality even existed.
Margaret Ryan, Bupa’s Head of Dementia Services

There are more than 400,000 people in Australia who have dementia. Of those people, 50 per cent of them are residents in aged care facilities which is why Ms Ryan said it is so important to have events such as this at the home.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure so we choose to focus on maximising the quality of life and meaningful moments for people with dementia and their families. This is why we take pride in our Person First Approach to tailored care within our homes,” she said.