Intergenerational storytelling increases social connections
Residents in Bolton Clarke’s aged care communities are sharing their stories in new ways through a research-based Life Stories program that is connecting residents with their memories and building bonds with their neighbours, carers and student volunteers.
The program, which began through the work of Bolton Clarke Research Institute Research Fellow Dr Xanthe Golenko in 2020, uses life story reminiscence work to improve wellbeing, reduce loneliness and increase connection for residents living in residential aged care and retirement living communities across the Bolton Clarke organisation.
What began as the creation of Life Story Books through a series of structured one-on-one interviews has now grown to incorporate a story circle program, loosely influenced by indigenous yarning circle practice.
Small groups of residents are invited to a series of weekly story circles, which are facilitated by a staff member and include Bachelor or Masters students, volunteers and residents in a guided or prompted reminiscence.
This year, the key theme of Queensland Seniors Month is social connections and Dr Golenko said for seniors in Bolton Clarke communities, projects like Life Stories are more important than ever before.
She said the project used a biographical storytelling approach to help people tell their stories and capture them, along with photographic memorabilia, in book form.
“Life story work goes beyond the names and dates on a genealogy chart to present the stories behind the facts and bring a person’s past to life,” she said.
“It helps residents and clients enhance their sense of identity and self-esteem, encourages better communication and closer relationships and helps us better understand people’s needs and wishes provide care that suits them.”
Program Manager Anna Fowke described the story circles as an intentional gathering for people to have meaningful conversations and become more connected to each other.
“This program is a joy for all who participate. We are relational beings and anything that helps us hear each other’s stories can only improve our experience of the world,” she said.
“Everyone is included and has the choice to share or simply listen. We have had people who are non-verbal who have positively responded and participated as a result of being part of the circle and listening to the stories.
“This inclusive and gentle environment naturally conjures up memories from their own lives - having these conversations creates a real energy in the group.”
The intention is that as the circles progress those residents who would enjoy creating a life story book or a poster naturally identify themselves. As trust builds within the circle they are paired up with a student on placement or a volunteer to work together on creating a beautiful and empowering printed record of their life experiences through books or posters which become part of the community’s collection and encourage ongoing conversations and relationships.
17 November 2023
Upcoming 'Downsizing Made Simple' book launches
Downsizing experts and bestselling authors Rachel Lane and Noel Whittaker will share their internationally recognised expertise when they launch their new edition of Downsizing Made Simple at free events at Moreton Shores and Europa on Alma.
17 November 2023
Call for Seniors to join local intergenerational project
A new intergenerational community program is giving seniors and school students the chance to share experiences from cooking and gardening to reading and postcard writing – and older community members are being invited to join the fun!
14 November 2023
Undetected hearing loss and dementia diagnosis
A Bolton Clarke Research Institute project focussed on removing undetected hearing loss as a barrier in assessing cognitive ability is investigating the potential of personal amplification devices in the assessment process.
02 November 2023
Innovative initiatives earn Future of Ageing wins
Bolton Clarke’s innovation across at home support and retirement living has been awarded with wins in two categories in the 2023 Future of Ageing Awards, announced this week.
24 October 2023
Community hungry for more ‘cook, eat, chat’ education sessions
Recently Bolton Clarke At Home Support held its first Cook, Eat and Chat session where clients and support workers gathered for an interactive lunch experience.
29 September 2023
Buddy App Awarded for Innovation
Bolton Clarke has made the 2023 Financial Review BOSS Most Innovative Companies Top 10 Innovations list with its Buddy social connection app.
09 May 2023
Improving health through social connection
A new program using an innovative social prescribing model to improve wellbeing is already making a difference for older people in Glen Eira, Victoria.
21 March 2023
Tool helps social workers partner with older people
Working together with a team of aged care social workers, a collaboration between researchers from Bolton Clarke Research Institute and University of Melbourne have developed an innovative psycho-social assessment tool to guide social work assessments and help social workers build proactive partnerships with older people.
01 August 2022
Digital pendant drives freedom, independence
Jean has been living in Noosa for 17 years, and the Bolton Clarke InTouch Go! allows her to continue enjoying her independent, active and social lifestyle without thinking twice.
27 July 2022
Students and retirees bond over shared life experiences
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05 July 2022
Resource promotes diversity excellence in health and ageing
An Inclusive Health and Ageing website resource supporting best diversity practice for health and aged care providers has been launched by leading not-for-profit provider Bolton Clarke.
20 May 2022
Social Connection has big impact at Queensland Volunteering Awards
Bolton Clarke’s focus on social connection has been recognised with the Bolton Clarke Research Institute’s ‘HOW-R-U?’ volunteer telephone peer support program taking out the Volunteering Impact award at today’s 2022 Queensland Volunteering Awards.
09 May 2022
New partnership to deliver evidence-based nursing in aged care
Bolton Clarke and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are finding new ways to strengthen evidence-based nursing practice in aged care with the announcement of an innovative conjoint research position.
15 October 2021
Carers co-design new dementia care approach
To find new ways of supporting family caregivers, Bolton Clarke Research Institute’s Mind the Gap! Project is working with people living with dementia and their carers to co-design a new approach to care.
07 October 2021
Dementia innovation given a nod at Future of Ageing Awards
The world first use of digital wallpaper in Bolton Clarke’s Galleon Gardens Memory Support Unit on Queensland’s Gold Coast has been shortlisted as a finalist in 2021 Future of Ageing Awards – Dementia Care category.
23 September 2021
Tool supports choice for people with dementia
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23 September 2021
Robotic companions changing lives of dementia residents
Bolton Clarke Fernhill residents with dementia have welcomed some new family members with the arrival of 10 robotic companion pets funded under Moreton Bay Regional Council’s Local Community Support Grant.
22 July 2021
Partnering with carers for better dementia outcomes
Bolton Clarke Research Institute is working with Flinders Caring Futures Institute on a new program to improve quality of life and health for informal carers and people living with dementia by equipping them with skills, knowledge and access to support.
16 June 2021
Social prescribing pilot tackles loneliness epidemic
Bolton Clarke Research Institute will lead a four-year pilot project aimed at reducing social isolation, loneliness and depressive symptoms and preventing unnecessary hospitalisation in older people in Melbourne after receiving funding through The Ian Potter Foundation.
26 March 2021
‘HOW-R-U?’ calls keep Alma connected on Neighbour Day
For Alma, living by herself can make it challenging to stay in touch with the world but this Neighbour Day, 28 March, she’ll be looking forward to her next phone call.
30 November 2020
Digital solution awarded for enabling independence
Bolton Clarke’s InTouch digital independence solution has won Best Solution to Support Ageing in Place at the 8th Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards, announced in Singapore this week.
13 August 2020
‘Let’s Dig In’ aged care gardening team takes State gong
Bolton Clarke’s ‘Lets Dig In’ therapeutic gardening team are celebrating their win of Leading Aged Services Australia Awards for Excellence (Queensland Team category) announced on Aged Care Employee Day, Friday 7 August.
07 July 2020
Café becomes retirees favourite watering ‘hole in the wall’
The “Hole in the Wall” café at Bolton Clarke’s Broadwater Gardens retirement village in Port Macquarie has become the caffeine-fueled antidote to social distancing challenges for resident retirees.
04 July 2020
Brewing up friendships at Macquarie View
For residents at Bolton Clarke’s Macquarie View residential aged care community at lakeside Bolton Point, the ‘Bolton Old Boys Brewery’ provides exactly that opportunity - and their first brewing foray, non-alcoholic ginger beer, is proving to be a hit.
05 June 2020
‘Hello Nan and Pop’ activity pack keeps grandparents and grandkids connected.
At times like this, the importance of keeping in touch with family and loved ones cannot be understated – particularly for older people. With social distancing, border closures and other protective measures preventing face-to-face contact, Bolton Clarke retirement village residents have turned to technology to keep the connections alive.
25 May 2020
Project supports palliative care at home
Bolton Clarke is working with Eastern Melbourne PHN in a project to provide community-based support to enable people with life-limiting illnesses to remain at home and prevent unnecessary hospitalisation.. May 24-30, 2020 is National Palliative Care Week.
25 February 2020
Moreton Shores in running for international award
Bolton Clarke’s Moreton Shores residential aged care community at Thornlands has won international recognition after last week being named a finalist for Facility of the Year - Ageing in Place at the 8th Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards.
11 February 2020
Carers to co-design new dementia respite approach
A new project funded under the Dementia Australia Research Foundation will work with people living with dementia and their carers to co-design a new approach to short-term residential respite care and transition into permanent care.
03 February 2020
HOW-R-U? project targets post-discharge social isolation
Bolton Clarke Research Institute (BCRI) will work with Melbourne’s Northern Hospital and volunteer organisation Friends for Good to roll out a peer support program aimed at reducing social isolation and loneliness for older people discharged from hospital.
31 January 2020
Milestone project marks first step into senior living in Victoria
Bolton Clarke has marked an important new milestone with the official start of work on its first Victorian retirement living community, Europa on Alma at St Kilda.
24 January 2020
From sowing to stir fry – aged care residents dig in to gardening project
One of life’s great pleasures is enjoying a meal made from food you’ve grown in your own garden. It’s a pleasure keen gardeners at Bolton Clarke Inverpine residential aged care community celebrated this week after a bumper vegetable harvest from their raised community gardens.
22 January 2020
Home care clients to co-design frailty interventions
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22 January 2020
New resource supports TGD elders
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10 December 2019
Customers partner to design, improve services
Bolton Clarke’s Melbourne-based community partnership group has celebrated its first anniversary, with a second group set to hold its first meeting on the Gold Coast this month.
06 December 2019
QUT Living Lab to trial new technologies at Fernhill community
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02 December 2019
Digital independence offering wins national award
Bolton Clarke has been named the inaugural Future of Ageing Awards winner in the Technology – Health and Wellbeing category for its digital independence offering.
31 October 2019
Promoting mental wellbeing for veterans and families
Supporting mental wellbeing for veterans and their families is the focus of the Veteran Family Mental Wellbeing Series, a free resource created by Bolton Clarke Group including Altura Learning that gives voice to the experience of veterans and their families, as well as researchers and clinical professionals.
24 October 2019
Be Healthy and Active hits a milestone
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21 October 2019
Inverpine residents dig in to fresh produce
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15 October 2019
Co-design work will support better carer outcomes
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09 September 2019
Retirement living residents cook up a storm
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24 July 2019
Bringing latest aged care design to Lake Macquarie
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15 July 2019
Diabetes care trial supports optimum wellbeing at home
A first-of-its-kind research collaboration between Bolton Clarke Group and Austin Health is evaluating a new model of diabetes care to optimise diabetes management in the home and improve quality of life for older people.
10 July 2019
Welcoming our newest Centenarian Club members in Brisbane
Nine Brisbane centenarians were honoured when Bolton Clarke hosted its second annual Centenarian Club morning tea at Brisbane City Hall on Tuesday, 2 October.
10 July 2019
Victorian centenarians kick up their heels
Five Melbourne centenarians joined in Bolton Clarke’s first Victorian Centenarian Club celebration on 12 October, coinciding with the Victorian Seniors Festival.
12 June 2019
Joy of play bridges the generation gap
An age gap of more than a century didn’t stop Bolton Clarke Fairview, Pinjarra Hills resident Kittie, 103, and 15-month old Harrison Kremmer from having lots of fun putting a puzzle together at the first meeting of the residential aged care community’s new intergenerational playgroup.
05 June 2019
Wilma the robotic cat wows Winders residents
A realistic robotic therapy cat is the latest member of Bolton Clarke’s Winders Lodge residential aged care family at Banora Point.
27 May 2019
Paro has seal of approval from residents with dementia
Paro the robotic seal is making a real difference to improve quality of life for residents with dementia at Bolton Clarke’s Farnorha residential aged care community.
27 May 2019
Virtual reality in aged care: the future is now
Bolton Clarke is expanding its work in the application of virtual reality technology into Residential Aged Care with a pilot that aims to improve resident experience and provide training opportunities for staff working with residents with dementia.
27 May 2019
Library of Aged Care Things changing lives
An online platform that shares cleaned and safety-checked aged care equipment with people who need it is fighting the war on waste and changing the life of Bolton Clarke At Home Support clients.
27 February 2019
Bolton Clarke awarded for wellness, reablement and innovation
Bolton Clarke has received recognition for its work in Wellness, Reablement and Innovation at the LASA Excellence in Age Services Awards presented at the 2019 Tri-State Conference in Albury last night.
20 May 2019
Innovation culture bears fruit
The latest in a series of innovations grounded in the relationships between frontline team members and customers were recognised this week with Bolton Clarke taking out the Innovation of the Year – Product and Innovation of the Year – Social Engagement Program categories at Ageing Asia’s 7th APAC Eldercare Innovation Awards.
08 March 2019
Creating Community Connections
Coretta Scott King once said, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” By that measure Bolton Clarke’s Cazna Gardens, at Sunnybank Hills in Brisbane, is on the path to greatness, as measured by the actions of residents like Patricia Toohey.
22 March 2019
Creating compassionate communities a focus for social connection
Older people are meaningful members of society, and they want to be treated that way.
07 May 2019
Veteran Family Toolkit launched for Veteran Health Week
Bolton Clarke has a long history of supporting veterans and we have launched our Veteran Family Toolkit to align with Veteran’s Health Week 2018.
21 May 2019
Breaking Ground on new Fernhill aged care community
The Bolton Clarke Fernhill aged care community in Caboolture has celebrated a milestone with a Turning of the Sod ceremony to mark the end of demolition and the next stage of developments.
20 May 2019
Trishaw service brings joy of cycling to aged care residents
A global cycling movement aimed at giving aged care residents the chance to enjoy cycling in the outdoors and meet new people has officially launched at Bolton Clarke’s Rowes Bay community in Townsville this week, with residents Joyce Bradley (102) and Violet Dirksen (100) having the first ride.
15 March 2019
Bolton Clarke Wins Oscar For Catering Innovation
Bolton Clarke has won Catering Innovation of the Year at the 2018 OSCAR Aged Care Hospitality Awardsin Melbourne for its work to improve the dining experience for people on texture modified diets.
15 March 2019
Veteran Family Toolkit Launched For Veteran’s Health Week
Bolton Clarke has a long history of supporting veterans and we have launched our Veteran Family Toolkit to align withVeteran’s Health Week 2018.
15 March 2019
Bolton Clarke Awarded For Catering Innovation
Bolton Clarke has won further recognition for innovation in food services with a national award at The Hospitality and Lifestyle Aged Care Awards (HLACA), announced in Melbourne on 2 November
15 March 2019
Bolton Clarke Unveils World First In Dementia Design
Former Australian Olympic swim coach and Bolton Clarke Galleon Gardens, Currumbin Waters resident Don Talbot helped launch another world first this week when he cut the ribbon on the residential aged care community’s new dementia wing.
15 March 2019
Wearable Device Supports Early Intervention Against Loneliness
Bolton Clarke has won further recognition for aged care innovation, this time for wearable technology to tackle social isolation and loneliness.
15 March 2019
Bolton Clarke Village To Be Part Of Mixed-use Master Planned Precinct
Bolton Clarke, Australia’s largest independent not-for-profit provider of independent living, health and aged care services, has negotiated the purchase of a parcel of land in the Queen Street Village on Queensland’s Gold Coast.