While some Arcare residents were too emotional to speak, most couldn’t stop smiling and saying that they never expected the ‘Write of Passage’ project to have such a positive effect on them.
Even Arcare Community Engagement Manager, Rachel Aqualina said, “This project far exceeded all of our expectations. We knew that the residents would enjoy the socialisation, but the friendships that have blossomed and the ties we have made with our neighbours and the school were truly unexpected.”
Last Grandparent’s Day, 23 students gifted their resident’s printed memoir book at two moving presentation ceremonies attended by hundreds of family and friends.
Each student and resident had an opportunity to stand in front of the crowd of their families and speak about how the project had affected them.
It was a roller coaster ride of emotions as students spoke about learning valuable life lessons and resilience skills and residents said how interesting it was finding out about school and life for young people now.
Many people approached me after the presentation to say that this project had changed their child’s life or their parent’s life. I was so grateful that my mission of having young and old come together to help each other feel valuable and document the results for the wider community to enjoy was finally being confirmed.
Arcare will roll this project out to all their Homes across Australia and by using technology the complicated process of scaffolding students to ask the right questions and collect life stories and photos into a printable digital book is automated.
Resident’s own families, anywhere and in any language, can also automatically contribute stories and photos directly into the book, ensuring the end product is genuinely a personalised and valuable keepsake for all the family. Some families even bought extra copies to keep for themselves.
Any aged care business can participate in a project like this with their neighbour schools. It is $35 per resident and the students do all the work as a community service or school project in English, History or Social Studies. Every book created, both the digital & the printed, are branded with the aged care business’ logo and tagline.
In this rapidly aging world, it is vital that the younger generation develops empathy and understanding for older citizens, as they will be the people responsible for crafting policy, designing community spaces or developing & selling products for the next 50 years, so communication between these disparate generations needs to be open and respectful.