The Power of Engagement: Non-Pharmacological and Diversional Therapy Interventions for Aged Care

When you get called a game changer, you have to feel a little bit proud! And we are …the poetry and performance sessions which Nina Burchett and I started as a community give back in our spare time, have now grown and are having a lasting impact.

Last month we entered one of our more active groups, from Selwyn Village into the Auckland arts fringe festival to bring to the stage their passion for poetry and the spoken word…we believed they deserved a larger audience. This proved so true. We performed ‘An Oldie But a Goodie’ to a sell-out audience of 120 and won the Fringe Festival’s Outstanding Community Engagement Award! The show was an ensemble of favourite poems performed by the residents, MC’d and Directed by yours truly.

Some audience members had tears in their eyes as they witnessed their relatives (many with early stage dementia) perform from memory and interact with the audience, there were also lots of laughs as one of the naughtier pieces ‘Shall I Feel’ By EE cummings (the title says it all!) was performed.

We have been delivering these sessions for 2 years in aged care homes throughout Auckland. Our key sponsor at Selwyn Village Orquidea Mortera, their amazing Diversional Therapist, shared that:

“I personally believe that Fiona and Nina are game changers in times of an ageing population which demands non-pharmacological and Diversional Therapy interventions such as Poetry and Performance in order to continue to enjoy meaningful life experiences.

Their support has been crucial to help us enrich our residents’ confidence and personal growth. Their sessions have also helped our residents to learn new skills which they are now able to share with their own family members and friends. The passion and love for what they do is felt by everyone during the sessions”.

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