Connecting Communities and Fostering Friendship in Aged Care
Alcheringa, Coates, Peace Haven |
Health experts continue to promote the idea that, as you age, positive relationships can be as important to your health and wellbeing as nutrition and physical activity.
Strong, ongoing friendships have been reported to help boost your mood, alleviate feelings of stress and depression, and improve feelings of life satisfaction. Additionally, recent research has even suggested friendships between older adults may have stronger associations with psychological wellbeing compared to family and kin-based relationships.
Across Respect’s aged care homes, our teams are passionate about fostering strong connections throughout our communities. Whether it’s between fellow residents or our dedicated staff members and volunteers, we know how important companionship can be to building a positive, productive and fulfilling environment.
Our social teams curate a wide range of events and activities which inspire participation, promote inclusion, and give our residents an opportunity to connect with each other in a fun and positive way.
And our teams are proud to see the positive results of this activity: residents engaged in fun and engaging activities, friendships blossoming on a daily basis, and heart-warming connections encouraged between old friends and new.
We recently saw the perfect example of this – between residents Carl and David at our Peace Haven home in Norwood, Tasmania (pictured at the top). Each and every week, both men engage in a long-standing tradition: a weekly game of chess. But this ritual goes well beyond a friendly game – it’s an opportunity to engage in each other’s company, as they check in one another over a cup of tea, as well as plenty of smiles.
Their fellow Peace Haven residents also engage in a host of inclusive activities that foster important social connections and create an environment that feels like home. The ‘Peace Haven Coffee Club’ is a great example. With fresh coffee and warm conversations, these gatherings offer numerous well-being benefits to our residents, providing a chance for them to connect, share stories, and build lasting friendships.
There have been a host of similar highlights from our other homes around the country. For example, at Alcheringa in Swan Hill, Victoria, our team recently launched a weekly ‘show and tell’ activity inviting residents to dive into their personal photo archives and bring treasured memories to share with the group. With storytelling such a powerful mechanism to build connections and share knowledge, what a wonderful opportunity for residents to learn more about each other and strengthen personal bonds.
Building positive connections between residents and staff is just as significant – and our staff will often cite their companionship with residents as the most rewarding aspect of their jobs.
At Coates in St Arnaud, New South Wales, staff recently engaged residents with a unique activity that helped strengthen these bonds. Each staff member brought in a baby photo of themselves,
It’s another example of the social support our teams are proud to provide residents across all our homes. While in our care, we want every resident to continue to live their life to the fullest – and we know opportunities to be socially active is a core component of that.
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