A new Australian initiative is keeping aged care residents in touch with community – and hot new writing – during COVID restrictions. Since September Pages for Wisdom has provided aged care residents with new work from published and unpublished writers to read and critique.
The program started when psychologist and palliative care counsellor Chelsea Dynan heard aged care COVID precautions meant residents weren’t allowed to borrow library books or even read shared books in facilities. A keen writer herself, Mrs Dynan had an idea that would create meaningful relationships and give residents something to read.
”It’s was when I started writing myself that I thought it would be a good idea,” Mrs Dynan said. While writing for a competition earlier this year, Mrs Dynan found herself focusing her story on “how meaningful relationships are while we’re in lockdown. And I thought, how can I bring these two things together?”
“It’s been so quick off the ground. The responses have been amazing, it’s really spread far really quickly.”
Now facilities across Australia are receiving short stories, poetry and manuscripts by email from Pages for Wisdom. This writing is then delivered to residents as hard copies or read aloud. Arcare Aged Care and Trinity Aged Care are some of the facilities involved, and writers are recruited from writers’ groups and associations.
Mrs Dynan said Pages for Wisdom is rewarding for all parties. “Just the idea that, firstly for us wanting to start writing to get feedback from a wider demographic, and then residents getting to see this new writing that’s coming out from people in our own backyard.”