Meet your Neighbour: Sarah Urquhart and the residents of Chartwell Royalcliffe Retirement Residence
Residents of Chartwell Royalcliffe Retirement Residence in London Ontario, December 2020 (Source: Chartwell Royalcliffe Christmas Card video)
LONDON, ONT. -- Although the pandemic has changed the way we are celebrating the holidays this year, there are still many people helping to spread joy. Sarah Urquhart and the wonderful residents of Chartwell Royalcliffe in London are doing just that.
Urquhart, the Lifestyle and Program Manager at the Chartwelll Royalcliffe Retirement Residence, decided to do something special in order to say goodbye to 2020.
As a surprise to their family and friends, Urquhart and several residents created a virtual Christmas greeting through a video meant to lift the spirits of anyone in need of some holiday cheer.
Once settling on creating a video where residents lip sync to a Christmas song, they had to find a fun song to work with.
They decided on 'You Make it Feel Like Christmas' by Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani because, "it (the song) seemed perfect because it's light, catchy, and has a great mix of lyrics and isn't a Christmas song you hear over and over again," said Urquhart.
Once they chose the song, they had to break it down line by line, listening to the lyrics while thinking of which resident would work well for specific parts of the song.
"You Make it Feel Like Christmas was a song that very few (if any) residents knew the words to, so we'd have to listen to the song a bit, get a feel for the rhythm, and then try to lip sync."
Of course, all COVID-19 protocols were in place from keeping to small groups, limiting programming times, sanitizing, having staff wear PPE, and being aware of physical distancing. Interested residents had to sign up to be a part of the video.
Residents have their temperature taken twice daily, wear masks when outside of their home, and only those who live together at Chartwell as a couple could remain in close proximity of one another while they filmed.
With a song and COVID-19 regulations in place, they filmed their video over four afternoons – about 12 hours in total.
On Tuesday, the completed video was sent to families as a surprise.
Successfully bringing together residents through dance, song, and props created a lovely moment for those unable to spend time with their family.
As far as the responses go, "There were laughs and there were tears, as many of us aren't going to be spending time with our families this year," said Urquhart.
Now online, the video is being shared with viewers who perhaps won't be able to see their own family this holiday.
As families of the residents who were involved in the video said after seeing their work, "it is 'the perfect gift'."
I personally thank the wonderful team at Chartwell Royalcliffe Retirement Residence for taking the time to create this beautiful reminder that even during some of the darkest of moments, there is light.
If you're in need of some light this season, watch the video. It's the gift that you didn't even know you needed.