27 February 2015
Aged Care Reviews
“Creature Tales", a non-profit group that runs arts-in-health activities, is operating a regular circus program for residents of aged care facilities. The weekly group, which brings together both the elderly, as well as job-seekers, has been showing people that it never hurts to have some fun.
It certainly does not hurt to try something new either, no matter if you are young or old. That is a truth that participants of the cutting-edge program are discovering. It seems that everyone involved is feeling all the better for taking part in the weekly activities. As well as the good that they are doing for elderly residents, it is a great way for potential workers in the aged care industry to get some hands-on experience. Some of the volunteers taking part in this program are actually students. While training in the hopes of becoming healthcare professionals one day, they are doing a lot of good for the elderly groups that they work with. Furthermore, as students, many of them are young, and even in their teenage years.
What are the elderly residents getting up to, under the watchful eyes of this group of circus workers and job-seekers? They are learning that it is not too late to stay moving, and that anyone can take part in fundamental circus training. Some of the aged care residents are delighted by the things they are achieving in the program. Staying moving and continuing to do something that they enjoy is a big benefit. The sense of fun and laughter that everyone shares throughout the activities also has its own benefits.
There are too many people who are not staying properly active as they move into old age. This is sometimes by choice, or simply because of circumstances that they cannot avoid. Either way, something needs to be done to help. Healthcare workers have started to sit up and take notice of recent studies. People are starting to understand that the elderly do not only need to be taken care of, and kept from too much excitement. Movement and enjoyment of life are things that can be experienced by people of all ages. Even those in need of serious rehabilitation can benefit from staying active and having some fun.
In addition to keeping people physically active, this program has been developed to engage the mind. That is where the arts come into play, in the arts-in-health programs. Participating in art-based activities, such as painting, dancing, and design, are good for much more than simply passing the time. These types of expressive activities have plenty of benefits for mental health, and they keep the mind active. This can help with mental health issues, ranging from depression to dementia.
Similar arts-in-health programs have been doing well in Australia. These include the WCH Foundation’s own programs, which was officially started at the beginning of 2010. Activities involve visual arts, music, performance arts, literature, design, and even dance. Early forerunners for these arts-in-health programs have paved the way for other organisations.
The IRT Dalmeny Care Centre was also one of the first facilities in Australia to start using humour as therapy. Their program, lovingly titled “Play Up", was introduced in late 2012. They began to use specially trained humour therapy professionals from the local area. These workers developed fun, playful friendships with residents. Play Up was carefully developed in accordance to a unique study into humour therapy. This study was done by the University of NSW’s Dementia Collaborative Research Centre. It showed that humour could play a big role in treating and managing patients with dementia.
These types of programs are proving to have a wide range of beneficial outcomes. Creature’s Tales’ own program shows that the whole community can benefit from such positive and productive activities. Job-seekers, who might otherwise be left with nothing positive to do, are finding that out. Rather than letting their social and work skills become rusty, job-seekers are giving back to their own communities. This is not only giving them a chance to contribute to society. It is even helping some people to discover new pathways to future employment, all while helping aged care residents to take back their more youthful lifestyles.
No one really wants to be forced to sit around doing nothing, whether young or old. Learning a new skill comes with benefits that go beyond the learning itself. It seems that arts-in-health programs are the way of the future, as far as the rehabilitation and health care industry is concerned.