winner-carrington-2016Intergenerational reminiscence program wins national aged care quality pastoral and spiritual care practice awards

Pictured L-R Meaningful Ageing Australia board member John Ireland, Carrington Pastoral Care Coordinator Julie Philpott; Meaningful Ageing Australia CEO Ilsa Hampton

Carrington Care’s multigenerational reminiscence program has been recognised in Meaningful Ageing Australia’s national awards.

The Quality in Pastoral and Spiritual Practice Awards celebrate organisations who can demonstrate a sustained and effective program or project that meets the spiritual needs of older people.

Since 2011, Carrington has been engaged in an innovative partnership with Year 11 students from a local Catholic high school, where students are partnered with residents from their residential aged care facilities for a 3-month intergenerational reminiscence program. Each year, students are matched with a resident who they visit every week, listening to the resident’s story, learning about the life of the resident and hearing the wisdom of the resident who is able to look back on the things that they have learned throughout their lives.

The students, who are required to submit an application to be considered for the program, are coached in thinking through what questions they might be able to ask that will encourage the residents to share their stories. They help the resident to remember and explore the significant events of their lives, as well as the small things that have brought meaning even to the mundane moments.

This reminiscence might be achieved with the assistance of photographs of the residents’ lives, through listening to music together or through discussion about their families, work and joys.

Over the years, there has been a steady increase in the number of students applying to be part of the program. ln the first year, eleven students were matched with five residents. ln 2016, twenty-two students have been matched with eighteen residents, providing even more opportunities for teenagers and older people to engage in this opportunity for intergenerational reminiscence.

The residents are nominated by staff in their facility and then interviewed by the Pastoral Care Coordinator to determine their willingness to participate in the project. At the conclusion of the 3 month project, the residents and their families are invited to attend a presentation afternoon, where the students make an audio-visual presentation of what they have learned of the lives of the residents. Each resident is then giver a copy of the presentation in the form of a booklet, along with a DVD, which they can then view again at their own leisure, as well as share them with family or friends who were unable to attend the presentation afternoon.

Some young people stay on as volunteers in the facility.

Meaningful Ageing Australia CEO, Ilsa Hampton, commented that the judges appreciated that the full life story of the older person is explored in their program.

When presenting the award, Ilsa went on to say that “The judges commended Carrington for their sensory approach, which we know is particularly important for those with dementia. Carrington were also acknowledged for relationship building with family members, students and residents; as well as for providing a potential career pathway for young people into aged care.”

The awards were presented by Meaningful Ageing Australia CEO Ilsa Hampton and board member John Ireland. Carrington received $1000 towards pastoral and spiritual care in their organisation, along with a trophy and certificate.

 The finalists were chosen through a strict process of de-identification and judging by an independent panel coming from three states.

The event was hosted by Calvary St Joseph’s Retirement Community in Sandgate, NSW

Other finalists:

Villa Maria (Catholic Healthcare, NSW) – highly commended

Peninsula Villages (NSW) – highly commended

Bethanie (WA) – finalist

IRT Kangara Waters (NSW) – finalist

Salvation Army Aged Care Plus (NSW/ACT) – finalist

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