Dress-ups keep the spirits up

'Captain caveman' aka Noel Lake, helps lift the spirits at Evergreen Retirement Village during lockdown. Pics: SUPPLIED

By Gabriella Payne

Melbourne’s recent 14-day lockdown was a tricky time for everyone, with many feeling isolated and down in the dumps, but the team at Pakenham’s Evergreen Retirement Village were determined not to let that happen and decided to pull out all the stops to keep people smiling throughout.

What started out as a fun little dress up idea quickly snowballed into something much bigger, as staff and residents donned colourful, snuggly and sometimes hilarious costumes, all in the name of a bit of fun.

One of the managers at the village, Sharyn Allsopp, said that when the lockdown was announced, that familiar cloud of dread came looming in the air once again and so she and fellow manager, Annie Roberts, decided to do something to lift people’s spirits.

“I think the word lockdown is just enough to give us anxiety these days,” Ms Allsopp said.

“The first day [of lockdown] it was a freezing cold day and I was with Annie and I said, ‘we should take a photo of us in our slippers’, and it kind of came from there.”

Over the 14-day lockdown, Ms Allsopp and Ms Roberts went out of their way to find funny, new ways of making people smile, posting a dress-up photo each and every day on their community Facebook page.

“When you go into lockdown for the fourth time, you’ve got to find the positives, because it can be so hard,” Ms Roberts said, and Ms Allsopp agreed.

“It was just to break that monotony,” she explained.

“The whole thing was to get people laughing and I tell you, god we’ve had some laughs this lockdown!”

Over the course of the fortnight, many cosy ‘oodies’ were modelled by residents and staff, and even ‘Dolly Parton’ and ‘captain caveman’ came out to play.

Evergreen resident Noel Lake, aka ‘captain caveman’, said he had jumped at the opportunity to get dressed up and help brighten people’s day.

“I’m just like a clown of the village, I’m easy going and I love making people laugh,” Mr Lake said.

“I’d do it all over again – watch this space!”