Hands-on connection in aged care

A powerful art project at mecwacare’s Trescowthick Centre in Prahran has given residents a unique, creative outlet for sharing their life stories.

During Melbourne’s lockdowns, when visits and lifestyle activities at aged care homes were limited, Deborah Carveth, a Swinburne University researcher, joined with Facility Manager, David Mitrovic, to start the project with residents at the Trescowthick Centre.

“This started as a small project to spark more social interaction with our residents,” David explains. “We wanted to be able to spend more time with our residents when they were having limited contact with others; we created an opportunity for them to talk about their lives and who they are.”

“It’s important to give people a voice and to give them the chance to be reminded of what they have achieved,” says Deborah, of the inspiration for the resident-focused initiative. “People’s stories are their legacy.”

A successful pilot program with a small number of residents convinced Deborah and David to expand the idea. Altogether, the project ran for one day a week over six months, with photos taken of residents’ hands. The photos, together with text of the residents’ stories, featured in an impactful exhibition at the Trescowthick Centre.

“We invited the families to see the exhibition, which was a wonderful time for residents to share with their loved ones,” David says.

“The photos and the stories are a wonderful memento for one family whose mother passed away, the project has left them with a unique piece of their mum’s legacy.”

Photo: Project founder Deborah Carveth (far left) and mecwacare’s David Mitrovic (right) with a family member/volunteer.

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