Customers from one of Yooralla’s residential homes have just returned from visiting Firá, the capital of Santorini.
While most tourists get to the city, famous for its white-washed houses built on the edge of the 400-metre-high caldera, by riding donkeys, our customers travelled to the destination via their armchairs.
‘Armchair Travel: A Sensory Experience’ has been introduced at Yooralla’s Aubrey Street home as another way to have fun and be active while staying at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions.
Efi Katiforis, Service Manager, said that with having customers and staff from many different cultural backgrounds, Armchair Travel was also a great way to learn more about each member of the Aubrey Street home community.
“We are a big melting pot of cultures. We have people of Lebanese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese, Hong-Kong, Australian and Greek descent,” said Efi, who is herself Greek.
“Armchair Travel is also about connection. It is a wonderful medium for not only learning about different countries and cultures and having fun, it is also about celebrating each person in our home,” she said.
The Aubrey Street travel itinerary, which is planned around each staff and customer’s ethnicity, has so far included the Philippines, Greece, Lebanon and Japan.
A whole week is dedicated to each destination, which features traditional dishes and music, as well as painting the national flag together and decorating the home in the country’s colours.
Kana Wieland, a Disability Support Worker at the home, said while the program was developed for customers, staff have also been really enjoying participating in Armchair Travel.
“It’s been a great way to get to know each other better. We would all cook together, while listening to traditional music; then sing, dance and do all the fun activities together. It has really strengthened our sense of community and made our time in lockdown a lot more fun!” she said.
Yooralla customer Susan, who lives at the home, said that so far, the Greek week was hands down her favourite.
“I loved Greek music and the food, especially their cheesecake,” she said.
Susan, who is “Aussie born and bred”, is helping the team to plan for the next destination – Australia.
“We will be making scones, lamingtons and pies and will probably fire up the BBQ,” said Efi.