The elderly residents of some nursing homes in Rio de Janeiro enjoy Carnaval thanks to the work of volunteers that organize parties in their care facilities. Since 2016, Musicalidade project has performed 11 parties for 400 seniors in six assisted living organizations, featuring a live band, costumes, and full decoration. The events also involve food donation campaigns. In 2017, the volunteers raised 2,727 pounds of non-perishable food.
The repertoire includes not old-school Carnaval tracks and samba, but also rock and Rio Funk. According to the volunteers, the seniors start shy, but towards the end, they are singing and dancing and asking when the next party is going to happen.
At the Associação Amor e Vida nursing homes, three parties happened already, with 120 residents attending."
The parties bring joy to our elderly residents and brings back their autonomy and self-esteem in a wonderful way. They never saw something like it. During the following week after a party, they are happy, light-hearted and can't stop talking about it," says Adnes Ribeiro, the nursing home's social director.
A new party is scheduled for March. Carina Rocha, 41, who started the volunteer group, remembers the first party she organized at the Cristo Redentor shelter, in São Gonçalo, a Rio suburb.
"There were many bedridden residents. Many of them didn't receive any visits, so they were starved for human interaction. In the end, a lady said that was the best day of her life."
Currently, Musicalidade has 60 regular volunteers, but over 250 people have helped with the parties and band performances. The band rehearses every Thursday.With no sponsorship or corporate donors, the volunteers each donate R$ 50 (US 14) dollar every month, to cover the costs for transportation, DJ and sound equipment. They also make raffles and raise money among friends and families.