Much has been said about protecting people living in nursing homes recently, but it appears as though some residents are more worried about everyone else.

Rina Sartoretto, 86, was born in Italy and first started sewing at the tender age of 12-years-old.

Mrs. Sartoretto’s skills with the needle and thread developed quickly, and before too long she has forged herself a career as a dressmaker.

When the time came to move into a nursing home, she packed her sewing machine and an assortment of materials before heading to the Villa Saint Hilarion Nursing Home in Adelaide’s western suburbs.

Prior to last week’s lockdown, Rina’s facility was a hive of activity that included regular visits from singers and school children throughout the week, but visitor restriction has put a hold on face-to-face interactions with family members and outside entertainment.

This unprecedented situation has people from all across the globe scrambling for ways to pass the time and Mrs. Sortoretto had decided to fill the void by pulling out the sewing machine and creating washable masks to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Equipped with an overlocker and a stockpile of vintage materials, Mrs. Sartoretto’s handmade masks would have to be the most elegant looking PPE in existence.

Mrs Sartoretto- Sewing

These colourful masks boast some eye-catching patterns from yesteryear which have resulted in the 86-year-old actually being offered $5.00 per mask.

Mrs. Sortoretto declined payment, confessing that creating the masks gives her a purposeful outlet that takes her mind off the worry of being in the midst of a global pandemic.

Mrs Sartoretto- Seamstress

Mrs. Sortoretto is struggling with being away from her beloved grandchildren and looks forward to the prospect of going home for meals on the weekend and having the opportunity to go on holiday with her own children.

Like many from her generation, Mrs. Sortoretto is resilient – but she is deeply saddened by the effect that the spread of the coronavirus is having on the world.

And until things start to settle down and visitors can return to her facility, she intends to keep on doing her part by sewing masks for those who need them.


Images supplied by Villa Saint Hilarion

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