Wedding bells at aged care centre

Weddings are a rare occurrence in aged care centres, but bride Celia Gillan didn’t want her 90-year-old mother, who’s a wheelchair user missing out on her big day, so she brought the nuptials to her.

All the residents at Carinity Aged Care – Clifford in Wooloowin were invited to the ceremony (on Saturday, November 23rd) and there was huge excitement in the run up to the day, as residents planned outfits, booked hair appointments and helped decorate the venue for ‘the wedding of the year’.

Ensuring that no-one missed out, Celia and groom Tom Alexakis also visited residents who were too ill to attend the service in their bedrooms, so that everyone could catch a glimpse of the newly-weds.

“Mum really feels at home in Clifford and we were delighted that everyone could share in our day. It’s like one big family here, where everyone is interested in what’s going on in your life and asking how you are,” said Celia.

She said that her mother, Beryl was ‘over the moon’ when she heard that the wedding was taking place at Carinity Aged Care – Clifford and added that residents and staff “were just so embracing and supportive of the day”.

“I called over during the week and there were posters up everywhere about the wedding and everyone was so excited and wanted to help with the decorations and all. It was just lovely to see. The staff went out of their way to support us and are so friendly. They really couldn’t do enough to help.”

Explaining that her father passed away 16 years ago, Celia said that she was upset that he wasn’t there to walk her up the aisle and that’s why having her mother at the wedding was so important.

“My mother is elderly and in a wheelchair but the staff really helped me to make the whole thing as easy as possible for her. We have a big family and her grandchildren and great grandchildren were all involved in the ceremony, so it was so lovely to have her there,” she said.

Staff at Carinity Aged Care – Clifford create communities of care where residents feel safe, welcome and valued, in a real homely environment. Birthdays are always a big celebration at Clifford and Celia said that she came up with her own wedding plans whilst attending her mother’s 90th birthday at the aged care centre last December.

“Tom and I are living in Sydney, but half our family are from Brisbane, so we knew we wanted to get married here to be closer to my mother. But we had such a lovely time at my mother’s birthday party last year and the staff really do go over and above what’s expected. So I thought, this is where I’d like to get married,” she concluded.

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