Nursing home residents expertly recreate famous album covers amid coronavirus lockdown

Robert Speker, activities co-ordinator at a U.K. nursing home, helped residents recreate some of their favourite album covers. Robert Speker / Twitter

Seniors at a U.K. nursing home are getting by with some major creativity during their coronavirus lockdown.

Residents at Sydmar Lodge in Edgware have been locked down for 120 days now in an effort to keep them safe during the pandemic.

To help curb boredom and keep their spirits high, the facility’s activity co-ordinator, Robert Speker, had residents recreate famous album covers.

Speker shared some of the incredible creations in a Twitter thread, as well as on Facebook, both of which have since taken over the internet.

“Sydmar Lodge Care Home residents and carers have been recreating classic album covers,” he tweeted on Friday. “The home has now been in lockdown for four months.”

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The first recreation reimagines Adele’s hit album 21 with resident Vera, age 93. Another took inspiration from Bruce Springsteen’s album Born in the U.S.A., recreating it as resident Martin Steinberg’s Born In England.

Four of the Sydmar Lodge care workers posed together to reimagine Queen’s album Queen II.

Resident Sheila Solomons posed as Elvis Presley and recreated The Clash’s London Calling, while Toba David dressed up like Michael Jackson to recreate the cover of Bad.

A crowdfunding campaign has been started to raise money for the nursing home. So far, it has raised more than £600 (C$1,000) of its £1,000 (C$1,700) goal.

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“It’s been my job and privilege to keep them entertained during the COVID crisis with no outside entertainers or family,” Speker wrote. “As this situation is ongoing, it could be months before the situation changes for them and the need to keep them happy, entertained and full of spirit has never been more crucial.”

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At the suggestion of some of his Twitter followers, Speker tweeted that the home will consider putting together calendars featuring the album recreations to raise even more money.

The elderly have been hit especially hard during the pandemic, not just in terms of physical health but mental health, too.

Isolation disproportionately affects the elderly, whose only social contact is out of the home in places like community centres or places of worship, a study out of the U.K. found in May. Another study found that social disconnection puts older adults at greater risk of depression and anxiety.

Similarly in Canada, anxiety and depression are up since lockdown measures came into effect across Canada in March, according to a survey of 1,803 Canadians by Mental Health Research Canada.

“What’s clear are levels of anxiety and depression have really taken an unprecedented toll on people psychologically,” Dr. David Dozois, a psychologist on the board of the research council and a professor at Western University, said.

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“Social isolation and loneliness are huge public health issues not only for the general public but particularly for seniors who experience greater risk for isolation.”

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That’s why it’s important now more than ever for Speker to keep his residents occupied.

“Elderly people will remain in lockdown for a long time, and I want to make their time as happy and full of enjoyment and interest as possible,” he wrote on the crowdfunding page.


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