Residents, staff, family, and volunteers gathered for a very special tea party at Chartwell Retirement Residence last week.
Ten Chartwell homes in total participated in an afternoon of high tea at each of their locations as a mutual attempt to break the Guinness World Record for hosting the largest tea party, along with other healthcare facilities across the globe.
The campaign started in the United Kingdom to bring awareness to malnutrition in the elderly. It’s held in March because it’s Nutrition Awareness Month and because Mar. 14-16 is Nutrition and Hydration Week.
Chartwell recreation manager Vicky Rau says all of the Chartwell homes signed up to participate and the most up to date count shows 555 participants, 85 of which are from the Elmira Chartwell Retirement Residence.
“They wanted to promote awareness of the most vital of human needs, which is food and drink. And in the elderly that’s often due to maybe isolation, low income, things like that where they’re not getting their nutritional needs. So they wanted to make awareness of this so then that’s why they said let’s do a worldwide tea party. When you try to break a Guinness Book of World Record then you bring attention to that,” Rau explained.
She said it went over well here, where they served tea in real tea cups and some light finger foods on the afternoon of Mar. 16. Their reasons for participating were twofold.
“First of all it’s fun to try to break a world record, and just acknowledging that in the elderly nutrition and certainly hydration are important. There are also a lot of seniors who live below the poverty line,” Rau said.
Chartwell had to follow a couple simple guidelines to be eligible for the tea party. They had to sign up online, serve tea and serve some type of food with the tea.
“It’s actually the first time [trying to break a Guinness World Record]. It was kind of fun,” Rau said.
Currently the largest multi-site tea party record is 667 people. Rau is still waiting for final results to see if they created a new record. To get an idea of the scope of this campaign, some of the other organizations that participated include the Portuguese Dietetic Association, Lifeview Residential Care in Australia, and Village on the Isle retirement community in the U.S.