Wihanli’s Crazy Fridays!
We are lucky enough to have incredible people in our team who genuinely want to see positive change in the lives of others. One of those people is Wihanli, an Occupational Therapist in Warrnambool, Victoria!
You may have seen some of Wihanli’s photos showcased on our social media and today, we bring you the story of her Crazy Fridays (as well as some of her favourite looks so far 😉).
My dress-up days – quickly named Crazy Fridays – started with the 2019 Halloween dress up. I decided to dress up as a bright and happy fairy for Halloween and the response of the residents was just amazing, lots of chit chat, laughter and fun came from the dress up.
The manager of one of the sites I work at loved the response and asked if I would be willing to dress up on Fridays to provide entertainment and a break in routine for the residents. Of course, I had to say yes because I love breaking routines and bringing joy and fun to others and then there is also the fun in dressing up and getting others to guess my identity.
I started off with the famous “Pippi Long Stockings” which brought lots of laughs and funny comments such as “you look like a bull with broken horns”. The dress up was successful and stimulated positive emotions and increased socialising with other residents. Some even asked for photos to show their families, and so was the beginning of my selfies with them on Fridays!
The next week a few residents and staff members asked whether I am going to dress up the coming Friday and they also tried to fish for clues on what I will be. It became a guessing game and everyone was having so much fun!
A few quotes from residents are “it is something to look forward to by the end of the week”, “it is a good change to usual routine”, “you are a character”, “you bring light to this place”.
After hearing these comments from the residents, it gave me reinsurance to why I take the time to dress up and look silly on Fridays. If something so small can make a difference and bring some joy, why not dress up?
Some of my themes have been a happy bumble bee, Minnie Mouse, Harry Potter, pirate, cowgirl, cave woman, St Patrick, and a clown! The best yet was the 1920s theme as it brought so much reminiscence; one of the residents, who has severe dementia, brightened up with a huge smile as she commented on this old fashioned 1920s theme, not only was she aware of her direct environment but she was able to have a short relevant conversation. The joy she felt warmed my heart as well as all other staff who were present in that moment.
There were some days where I felt shy and didn’t really want to dress up, but after seeing the effects of such a small gesture, I now know that it is worth it and I am not doing it for anyone else but for the residents who I love!