In May 2017, BaptistCare hosted the launch of 'Important to me: Snapshots from elders in objects and stories', a book containing a series of stories about older Australians and a single meaningful object that each has kept with them throughout their lives.
For several years, residents of BaptistCare Carey Gardens have enjoyed regular visits from the book’s author Pip McNaught, a prominent figure in Canberra’s arts community and a former curator of the National Museum of Australia.
Pip invited BaptistCare residents in possession of objects of great personal significance, some also had social or historical significance, documenting each as part of a collection that would eventually become Important to me.
Over scones and tea, the residents and staff of BaptistCare Carey Gardens joined Pip, Mr Gordon Ramsay MLA, Minister for Veterans and Seniors, Dr Mike Pickering from the National Museum of Australia, and school children from the local Red Hill Primary School to celebrate the launch of 'Important to me'.
BaptistCare Carey Gardens resident Audrey O’Connell proudly displayed her object featured in 'Important to me' – a wedding photograph from her double wedding in 1945.
Julie Grant, Diversional Therapist at BaptistCare Carey Gardens, commented, “It’s wonderful to see our residents connecting with each other, staff, and friends and family when they participate in these projects. As they discuss and compare the histories of these interesting objects, it provides an opportunity for connection; a moment of mutual interest, engagement and lively conversation.”
“It was great to see everyone in the room, from BaptistCare staff to the Red Hill Primary children, learning from the stories and experiences of the older Australians residing at BaptistCare,” added Jill Dexter, Residential Manager at BaptistCare Carey Gardens.
“We’re proud to promote intergenerational respect and understanding amongst our local community and to participate in projects like Pip’s book, which focus on enriching the lives of our senior residents through social connection.”
The project is part of the ACT government’s 'Health and Heritage' programs for seniors, and part of BaptistCare’s commitment to explore how we can improve the quality of life and social wellbeing of elderly Australians through cultural engagement and intergenerational links with peers, family and local communities.
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