Creative ageing provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment, builds self-esteem and confidence that reduces anxiety, stress and depression. Creative ageing can also improve physical capability and cognition. Almost more importantly, creative expression can be made available to everyone in some form, regardless of age, disability and frailty.
Our Creative Ageing programs include a wide range of activities and therapies. Some are aimed at everyone’s enjoyment – gardening programs, arts and crafts, singing and choirs, games, music, hen keeping, visiting pets. Some are offered as specific therapies for people with dementia and cognitive impairment such as humour therapy through the Play Up program, Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, and music and art therapy.
HenPower – Creative Ageing and Pet Therapy
HenPower is a creative ageing program based around keeping chooks. The program is run by residents, staff and volunteers at our residential care homes. HenPower was created by Equal Arts UK and has been running successfully in the UK for more than two years. Whiddon are the first provider to offer the program in Australia.
Following Whiddon’s Australian first trial of the HenPower program, we are now offering the program at all of our aged care homes. HenPower has shown numerous health benefits in the UK research trial, including improved health and wellbeing, significant reduction of depression and reduction of loneliness.
PlayUp – Humour Therapy
PlayUp is a form of humour therapy that uses performers to connect and engage with older people through songs and laughter, evoking memories and enabling people with dementia to engage with others and express themselves.
We were the first organisation in the aged care industry to roll out the Play Up program to all of our residential services, and we continue to offer the program in all of our homes today, including those in very remote areas of NSW.
We work with the Arts Health Institute to offer the program in our 19 residential aged care services. Play Up performers visits on a regular basis and spend as much time as they feel necessary with the older person. Play Up sessions take place in groups, individually, indoors, or out in the garden. Some sessions focus on expression through music and movement, and clients are often seen on the arm of a performer, being serenaded with a song from the past or bursting with laughter at the performer’s antics.
Sing Out Loud Together – Intergenerational Music Program
Sing Out Loud Together is an intergenerational music and literacy program run by the Arts Health Institute. The program uses the unique power of music to promote social engagement and elicit positive emotional responses in older people with dementia, and in healthy older people, as they engage with young people.
Sing Out Loud Together brings children from the community together with our clients, encourages storytelling, reading and friendship and is loved by both our residents and our local primary schools.
Leap for Life
We are currently working with the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre at UNSW to participate in a three year trial of a new program to improve the service that our community care team provide to community care clients.
Through the trial our care team are trained to use humour therapy and techniques around communication and engagement that were developed in the SMILE study to create memory boards for our clients. We use what we learn about our clients’ loves and interests to create a more rounded approach to their care, and to help manage challenging behaviours.
It is the little things that are proving to make the most difference: Helping Maureen find ways to pick fresh flowers for her table everyday. Helping Bill sleep on the floor and watch the night sky as he did as a drover in his youth. Robert, a Whiddon in-home carer, riding his motorbike to work at least once a week so 80 year old Merv can touch it and have his photograph taken next to it.