Computer technology keeps the music playing at Highcliffe Nursing Home

Mabel R. Acton

A NURSING home in Highcliffe has been using computer technology to keep people entertained during the Coronavirus pandemic, by providing virtual shows for its residents.

To protect residents from the virus, visits by relatives and friends have been necessarily curtailed and a temporary stop has also been put on entertainers coming to the home.

However, one of the residents’ favourite singers, Jo Geraty, who performs as Retro Rita, has found a way to keep the music playing – by livestreaming her concert into the lounge of the Kingsley Healthcare home in Stuart Road, Highcliffe.

She said: “I perform in 60 care homes across Dorset and Hampshire but when the Coronavirus pandemic became serious, all the homes quite rightly went into lockdown to protect their residents from unnecessary visits.

“It was my daughter Chloe, a freelance television producer, who suggested livestreaming a concert. I’m a bit of a technophobe but she’s the right generation and was able to help me prepare an ‘idiot’s guide’ to send to homes explaining how to make it work.”

Mrs Geraty, who performs songs from the Old Time Music Hall era through to the 1970s, lives locally and her father Frank West, 84, is a resident at Highcliffe Nursing Home.

Jo added: “Although I am not able to visit him during this difficult time, I can see him on the live stream and I know he is being very well cared for by Tracey and her team.

“As well as Highcliffe, five other homes have taken up my offer to livestream concerts. The technology has opened up the possibility of me performing to homes across the country in the future,” she said.

Home manager Tracey Millar said: “She’s a great favourite and has been visiting us for years.

“Livestreaming her concert meant we did not have to disappoint residents – they loved it and were soon on their feet, singing and dancing along.”

“It was great to find new ways to keep residents smiling through this difficult time when there were no family visits to look forward to,” she added.

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