Everyone car sing: If you can talk, you can sing!

Ms Margaret Aldous

Chief Executive/director Of Nursing, Cooinda, Benalla, VIC

For the past six years, Cooinda’s care recipients have combined with Benalla’s FCJ Secondary College Year 7 students in a chorus of voice and celebration of storytelling and recording.
FCJ’s students rehearse at Cooinda weekly for six weeks during their lunch hour, led by a choir conductor / FCJ teacher. Students and residents are buddied to support each other in preparation for the final concert.
The students and resident participate heartily in the practices, enjoying the singing whilst developing friendships, understanding and tolerance for one another. This wonderful opportunity for social connectedness and inclusiveness between the generations is palpable.
During the period of rehearsals, Year 10 FCJ students spend time with some of the residents to hear and record their life stories, memories and reflections.
Whilst the real joy is in the friendships developed over the weeks, the ultimate outcome is the power of a shared voice bridging the generations and compassionate story telling in front of a live audience, filled to capacity, at Benalla’s Performing Arts Centre.
In 2017, the Cooinda and FCJ College groups combined to shoot a feel good film clip which has been viewed 25,000 times over the past four days.


Margaret Aldous is the Chief Executive/Director of Nursing of Cooinda in Benalla.
Cooinda, a not for profit facility, offers a continuum of care from independent living,
home and residential care.

Margaret completed her nursing training at the Alfred Hospital and Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.
She has Bachelor of Nursing (post registration), Masters of Health Management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Company Directors Course. Previously she completed the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency Assessors Course.

Margaret has extensive experience in senior nurse management roles. These have included acute,
aged care, palliative care and quality. Prior to moving to Cooinda she was the Quality Manager at Benalla Health. She was responsible for the initial development of the Palliative Care Service in Benalla.

She has undertaken extensive education in Mindfulness and Mindfulness in leadership.
She is a qualified meditation teacher.

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