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The Great Gatsby comes to life at Woodland Villa

Residents enjoy a themed day to celebrate the Roaring Twenties

The Roaring Twenties recently had a revival at Woodland Villa, when residents of the Long Sault, Ont. long-term care home were treated to a themed event based on one of the most popular novels of the era, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Spearheaded by life enrichment aides Melissa Cleary and Liana Charbonneau, the event featured residents dressing up in attire from the era, including masquerade masks and pearl necklaces, and the home’s activity room was richly decorated to mimic a speakeasy.

Melissa explains how the idea for the event was born.

“Every summer we brainstorm ideas for the residents, and we wanted to try something new,” she tells The OMNIway.

“We figured, why not do a Great Gatsby day for something new. We wanted to incorporate a little of the 1920s era because we have never included that era in any of our themed programs, and a lot of our residents know about the music and the decorations from that time, so they really appreciated the atmosphere of the day.”

Due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing was in place with full safety precautions in effect.

Liana says residents enjoyed the event, adding they “loved” the decorations, food and music. The music brought back memories for residents, even if the 1920s were before their time.

“They all recognized the music and they were dancing to the songs,” she says, adding some residents had seen the 2013 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

“It was a really fun day for them.”

Liana says this was the first time the Woodland Villa life enrichment team organized an event based on a classic novel, but given the success of the Great Gatsby day, it’s something the team would consider building upon.

“We would do that again in the future, I think, that would be a great addition to our programming,” she says.

Melissa says The Great Gatsby proved to be the perfect classic novel to create a themed event around.

“People did recognize it, and others were interested to know what it was about, and once they learned about the book they came (to the program),” she says.

“We made the book come to life.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Woodland Villa resident Lucille Lauzon is pictured here enjoying a theme day at the home centred on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby.