Elderly residents have endured months of separation to try and keep them safe from the COVID-19 outbreak that swept the state, but it has left some battling loneliness and a low mood, ABC News reports.
Uniting Annesley care home has 88 residents in Sydney’s inner west and specialises in people living with mental illness.
Fully vaccinated people over the age of 12 were able to visit Uniting Annesley last week under strict COVID-19 checks and as long as they wore masks and shields.
One of the visitors was Joseph Khalifeh, who was there to see his family friend Gratien Raoul.
Their families knew each other in Egypt before migrating to Australia and Joseph has been a regular visitor at the facility until the pandemic made that impossible.
When 82-year-old Gratien saw Joseph walk into the room, he broke into a broad smile and even started singing to celebrate the moment.
“I’m happy, [so] nice to see you,” Mr Raoul told his friend.
That was despite some initial confusion because when he first saw Joseph his face was obscured by a shield and mask.
“I didn’t recognise you,” Mr Raoul said.
“I look like a spaceman,” Mr Khalifeh quipped.
Joseph said even though they had spoken on the phone and made video calls there was no substitute for face-to-face contact.