A bridge across the ages

STORY TIME: Greenwell Gardens resident Heather McManus and Nowra Anglican College student Leah Herdman catch up on a little history.EVERYONE has a story to tell, as high school students discovered when they recorded part of the life histories of a number of senior citizens recently.Under the program My Story Matters, a group of year 10 students from Nowra Anglican College were paired up with residents of the IRT Greenwell Gardens retirement village.During their weekly meetings the students recorded their conversations into a five-minute DVD presentation with photos, music and voiceovers.Greenwell Gardens lifestyle manager Donna Mepham said the pro-ject captured glimpses of seniors’ lives, both in the past and present, and these glimpses were shared with staff, family, friends and the wider community.“Our residents and the students meet regularly and through questions and answer sessions, are involved in making a meaningful record of the seniors’ lives,” she said.Student Leah Herdman was paired up with Heather McManus.“Heather had a pretty good idea of what she was going to say but it was often when we got off track, and she would tell me that I wouldn’t be interested in this part, that was when the really good stuff came out,” Miss Herdman said.“It was all interesting, it was a whole different world back then.“She is a lot like me in that she loves the country and old Europe.“We had a connection and it was a really good experience. I think she enjoyed the company,” Miss Herdman said.The program was introduced by IRT to help prevent and manage depression and anxiety among seniors.My Story Matters was awarded a Better Practice Award from the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency.IRT chief executive Nieves Murray said the award was a great honour for such a successful program.“The program has gone from strength to strength and is a great benefit to all involved.“It helps to improve the residents’ wellbeing and gives volunteers an insight into a person’s life,” she said.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.