Nursing home residents re-create famous album covers in lockdown

Erin Donnelly

A nursing home near London is going viral thanks to the creative way its staff and residents have livened up their lockdown life during the coronavirus pandemic. Think less Bingo and more Bowie.

Sydmar Lodge, a U.K. care home for senior citizens primarily within the Jewish community, has been in lockdown since March. With residents restricted from receiving visitors, and external entertainment vendors barred, activities coordinator Robert Speker was presented with a “huge challenge” to keep things lively.

Speker tells Yahoo Life that he’s known for “thinking outside the box” when it comes to organizing activities for residents at Sydmar, located in the London suburb of Edgeware. His lockdown project is no different: a photographic series in which residents and staffers re-create some of the most iconic album covers in music history, with tributes to Madonna, Queen, Adele, Elvis Presley and Blink-182.

He may have nailed the Springsteen stance, but resident Martin was "born in England." (Photo: Sydmar Lodge/Robert Speker)
He may have nailed the Springsteen stance, but resident Martin was "born in England." (Photo: Sydmar Lodge/Robert Speker)
Resident Roma Cohen committed to this Bowie makeover. (Photo: Sydmar Lodge/Robert Speker)
Resident Roma Cohen committed to this Bowie makeover. (Photo: Sydmar Lodge/Robert Speker)
Sydmar Lodge residents paid tribute to the likes of Madonna, Queen, Adele, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson. (Photo: Sydmar Lodge/Robert Speker)
Sydmar Lodge residents paid tribute to the likes of Madonna, Queen, Adele, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson. (Photo: Sydmar Lodge/Robert Speker)

Speker says he’s long wanted to do album re-creations with residents, but never had the time — until the pandemic. Luckily, everyone was game.

“I realized that lockdown had given us the gift of time,” he says. “I told the residents about my idea and they were enthusiastic and keen to get involved, although a little bemused!”

The “covers” — which range from a nonagenarian riffing on Taylor Swift’s 1989 shoot to a group of Sydmar Lodge employees posing as Queen — have now found internet fame. Speker says his elderly models are enjoying the response, which has left him “absolutely blown away.”

(Photo: Robert Speker/Sydmar Lodge)
(Photo: Robert Speker/Sydmar Lodge)
(Photo: Robert Speker/Sydmar Lodge)
(Photo: Robert Speker/Sydmar Lodge)
(Photo: Robert Speker/Sydmar Lodge)
(Photo: Robert Speker/Sydmar Lodge)
(Photo: Robert Speker/Sydmar Lodge)
(Photo: Robert Speker/Sydmar Lodge)

The group is also using their 15 minutes of fame to raise funds for a selection of charities aimed at dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. So far, about $3,000 has been raised.

“I am so delighted that this little project has bought happiness and positivity to so many, and been an uplifting light,” says Speker.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides. 

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