Marching the talk

Spirits were high as four residents joined a group of staff members under the Uniting AgeWell banner for the Midsumma Pride March on Sunday 4 February.

The Uniting AgeWell team was among 17,000 people representing 380 organisations that took part in the annual iconic LGBTQIA+ march from the Ian Johnson Oval to the Catani Gardens in St Kilda.

A handful of staff members, wearing rainbow wings and holding dove banners, joyfully stepped out, their enthusiasm as high as the temperature. One of them included Miss Rita Linn, whose Mum Diane Johnson works as an enrolled nurse at Uniting AgeWell Strath-Haven Community. Rita donned a purple wig and trademark high heels for the occasion.

Five residents from three Uniting AgeWell aged care facilities travelled behind the marchers in an air-conditioned bus and with chilly bins to keep them extra cool.

Once again the crowd warmly received Uniting AgeWell, with a number of spectators stepping forward to thank our team for caring and looking after their family members and friends.

Several people watching the procession along Fitzroy Street stopped to talk to Team Purple, saying it was a wonderful surprise to see a church-based aged-care organisation not just walking the talk but marching it. Many of those who reached out to our team were older people themselves.

“We all felt it,” says Uniting AgeWell Marketing and Communications Director Natalie Dillon. “That joy that comes with knowing we are making a difference to the lives of older people we provide care for.”

Dario, a Uniting AgeWell Home Care Organiser in Bendigo, summed up the experience beautifully, “I came out late in life and this has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. This has been incredibly heartwarming and I am so grateful to Uniting AgeWell for giving me this opportunity. What a day! What a joy!”

Uniting AgeWell proudly has inclusion as one of its five core values, which underpin everything we stand for.