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The residents of an Australian old folk’s home are feeling much younger—now that two drag queens have moved in!
The “Motel Sisters” moved into the nursing facility for a whole month to provide some fabulous fun and color to the residents—a prescription that ended up having a whopping positive effect on the seniors’ health, as well.
Liam Benson and Naomi Oliver – also known as Tacky and Paris – became the full-time party attendants to the residents at the Abel Tasman Village in Sydney, thanks to an arts nonprofit program.
During their stay, the performing drag queens taught Zumba classes, taught Zumba classes, hosted tea parties, spa days, aromatherapy sessions— and, most heartwarming, they orchestrated elaborate room makeovers for those who were confined to beds.
One day they orchestrated a treasure hunt during which the seniors got to help the Motel Sisters find their possessions, after an imagined crazy night out.
According to the clinical care manager of the home, the performers had an incredible impact on the residents’ health: There was less agitation and wandering among those with dementia. Additionally, many fewer calls were logged to the geriatrician that might normally increase someone’s medication.
Though such an idea of diversity and inclusion was approached with caution, knowing some residents might shake their heads, the experiment produced no detractors.
“There was some caution taken right from the beginning because we were sensitive to people’s needs and also people’s perception,” Tacky told ABC Radio Sydney. “We understand that popping a couple of drag queens into your everyday environment for some people can be a little bit discombobulating.”
But after spending a few days in the facility, they were welcomed with open arms.
“They’ve added a breath of life to the place,” one of the nursing home residents told ABC. Another said: “They’ve been so kind to me, I can never pay them back for their kindness.”
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It has been so beautiful to see The Motel Sisters in Care project develop and unfold. We've been delighted to have @harolddavidstudio documenting the days and activities of such a special residency. ⠀ This project seems to have resonated with many... there's been visits from @sydneymorningherald and @abcinsydney , and Paris and Tacky were featured on @theprojecttv last Friday! ⠀ After 4 weeks the @motelsisters are wrapping up their residency with some collaging with the residents. It's been amazing and we look forward to sharing more special moments from the past month with you ✨⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #AbelTasmanAgedCare @motelsisters @n40m1o @liam_benson @harolddavidstudio @vicpic7 ⠀ @auscouncilarts ⠀ #MotelSisters #MotelSistersinCare #AgedCare #art #engagement #community
The residency, which was facilitated by the arts nonprofit Information + Cultural Exchange, is not the first example of unusual therapies having a positive impact on dementia patients and seniors.
A string of night clubs in London started hosting “rave parties” as a means of fighting loneliness in older people. Years ago, one New York-based doctor broke the law to engineer a better nursing home by bringing in dozens of animals and plants that were in need of care, and the death rate plummeted. Finally, this Seattle preschool opened up inside of a nursing home and all heaven broke loose – for both young and old.
(WATCH the video below)
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