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Case Study One | Connecting - Knitting the community
Lourdes Valley, The Pines, Pearl and the broader community
Hours spent: over 1000
“A piece of string can travel the globe and connect a community.”
Abstract: The concept was easy enough; to cover a frame with knitted red yarn
squares, 10cm x 10cm in size, to create a large structured hat. What happened
next was more surprising as the whole community got involved. The project
was initially set for just Lourdes Valley to connect between their retirement and
residential customers; however, we ended up with residents getting involved from
all over, including The Pines Retirement Village and our Pearl residents in Darwin,
from where they said, “In Darwin, we knit for a cuppa and a cause. There isn’t much
need for warmth up here but if we knit and send it somewhere where there is a need or a
request, that’s warmth enough for our Territory hearts.”
Benefits: Knitting is like yoga with wool! Once you get beyond the initial
learning curve and settle into the repetitive action of knitting it can lower your heart rate and
blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Here are just some of the benefits of knitting:
• Helps individuals relax;
• provides a sense of control;
• reducing depression and anxiety;
• assists in socialisation;
• encourages playfulness and a sense of humour;
• improves cognition;
• offers sensory stimulation;
• fosters a stronger sense of identity;
• increases self-esteem;
• nurtures spirituality;
• reduces boredom.
Results: After the exhibition is over, the red yarn hat will be unpicked and made into blankets.
The Pines Retirement Village has a knitting group called Wrap with Love, and this organisation
makes wraps and distributes them world wide, for
those living in poverty.
Case Study Two | Intergenerational – stories with children
Mt Carmel Residents: 30
“Our residents now get more exercise and go out at recess to wave to the children. Both children and residents thoroughly enjoy their time together and they all know each other by name.”
Abstract: The concept was to build a working relationship with the neighbouring school, to encourage engagement and develop friendships. The children, aged in the Year 3 and 4 levels, worked on a research project which explored different styles of hats. The students would then come across for excursions to discuss their findings with our residents. Our own aim was to inspire our resident’s to respond by sharing their own personal stories, memories and experiences. What happened next far surpassed everyone’s expectations. Their face to face conversations, where the students explained to our residents what they were doing and discovering through their research, has created an irreplaceable bond of friendship.
Benefits: Keeping our youngest and oldest generations connected benefits participants and the community as a whole. These are our Top 3 reasons to bring the wisest and the youngest people together:
1) Children and young people gain a positive role model with whom they can interact with on a
regular and safe basis.
2) Intergenerational activities help dispel negative stereotypes
3) Intergenerational moments promote the transmission of cultural traditions and values from older to younger generations, helping to build a sense of personal and societal identity while encouraging tolerance.
Results: The school children created a hat to wear, as a result of their research
Case Study Three | Moments - Jimmy’s Life
Fullarton Residents: 10
Hours spent: 30
“The life of Jimmy’s Hat from the day he got his hat to the day he was buried in it.”
Abstract: The concept was to stimulate conversations among our residents who are living with dementia; to look at the process of life and to have them reminisce their own “favourite moments and milestones”. From this, the project developed into creating a fictional character they named Jimmy. At each session they would laugh and share stories about Jimmy, creating stages in his life which held meaning to each of them and along the way they taught each other Australian Slang and the Australian way to say things, as Jimmy would have. They then recreated Jimmy’s hat using an old wool trench coat – looking at elements such as the age, wear and tear of the fabric, to make the hat for different stages of his life ie the older the fabric, the later in life he must have been wearing it.
Benefits: Recent clinical research validates what some professionals and others who work with older adults have known for years—that making art is an essential and vital activity that offers a wide range of health benefits. Several studies show that art can reduce the depression and anxiety that are often symptomatic of chronic diseases. Other research demonstrates that the imagination and creativity of older adults can flourish in later life, helping them to realize unique, unlived potentials, even when diagnosed with dementia or Parkinson’s disease.
Results: We engaged the internationally acclaimed cartoonist, Greg Holfeld, to help residents translate their story about the fictional Jimmy character onto paper. It has generated a lasting memory which they can look at and continue to have conversations about.
Case Study Four | Purpose - The hat you wear
Philip Kennedy Centre Residents: 40
Hours spent: 150
“We all have our hats we wear; some days you will be playing with your kids and have your ‘parent hat’ on to protect them or ensure they’re safe, other days you might need your work hat on, to get a job done.”
Abstract: The concept was to remove the ‘old person’s hat’ some residents feel they are given when entering aged care and put back the hat of the person who they really are. The project aimed to find the hats of our residents. What represented them? Who they are on the inside? What is the part of them we cannot see? We were able to find the small but important stories of a number of our residents. The decision to share the particular stories we selected was to remind others we all have something that makes us who we are, and that something is always with us.
• When others take the time to learn more about our history, experiences and achievements we feel an increased sense of self worth and our confidence is boosted.
• Everyone has a story that defines them; a hat that they have worn. Taking the time to let these stories unfold and then recording and celebrating them through photography is a way of honouring and paying tribute to the uniqueness of each individual life.
• We all benefit from connecting more closely with others.
Results: Through different interview an inquiry techniques we were able to discover what represented each individual and then put them in a situation where they could re connect with that part of themselves. Residents went in trips to different places around Adelaide and even just different places within Philip Kennedy Centre.
Photos were taken by some budding photographers to show the different connections that residents have with different places and memories.
Case Study Five | Repurposing – making something out of nothing
McCracken Residents: 10
Hours spent: 30
“They wished wearing hats would come back in vogue, an outfit was always complimented and finished with a lovely hat.”
Abstract: The concept to use the Fleurieu as the main theme came from our residents who are very proud to be living in the Fleurieu Peninsula. Many grew up here and spent there childhood on the beach, and being involved with the Surf Life Saving Clubs. Discussions during regular craft sessions are always light and cheery and it led on to hats; their favourite hats, and different types of hats and so on. The wall mural idea, depicting the underwater scene with hats on sea creatures and hats with gems falling out from a treasure chest, simply evolved from out of the laughter.
• Coming together and making art is a social and a creative activity. It’s good for our brains. Neurological research shows that making art can improve cognitive functions by producing both new neural pathways and thicker, stronger dendrites.
• It doesn’t matter how young or old we are: making art or even viewing art causes the brain to continue to reshape, adapt, and restructure. Art grows our brains and improves our mood. And we have fun doing it.
Results: Our resident’s generation were very frugal and they found it rewarding to make something from nothing. They were equally impressed how they could made this bright colourful and cheerful piece of art from recycled and reused items, with what they purchased often only being from the local Op Shop! The unexpected bonus came from the team bonding between staff, residents and the Encounter Lutheran College students.
From our residents as we go...
A great moment remembered from June; “I used to be a Milliner. I worked in a very inexpensive hat shop in Rundle Street. Holsteins VIP (shop) was across the road. It was a shop for working people. They used to manufacture plain hats and the girls in the shop (June included) would dress them up. People would come in and tell the girls what they wanted, and the girls in the shop directed them until they had a hat they were happy with & suited them. They could have it as plain or as fancy as they wanted. That’s when fascinators started. I was 16 years old when I started and earned a pound & sixpence a week. We had no uniform. I love race day, looking at people’s hats.”
And another; “I came to Australia in 1947. When I started going to church, most of the ladies wore ordinary hats. My husband bought me a cap. My father wore a cap, but it was always in his pocket. If you look at the streets in Berlin, there were lots of cafes, and you could see all the ladies with hats.”
The gardening hat… is the hat Barbara Catley from PKC wears and this is her story…
JOHN MORGAN’S HAT, by daughter Michelle
John always wore a Beanie to bed as Margaret liked to have the window open.
John always wore hats to work; Beanie in winter, Towelling Hat in summer.
John always wore a tartan cap with a Black Pom-Pom to golf,
to football, the pub, & Family gathering’s.
John always wore a hat/cap at the dinning table.
The hat wore out as The Pom-Pom stretched,
and was always swinging from side to side.
He used to tease the grandchildren,
by putting the tartan cap on their heads and squelching.
The Pom-Pom “Poppa’s” hat was a fun game.
John was very well known by his Golf and Footie mates.
They all looked out for him in his Tartan hat.
They said “Look at the cap and you will find John Morgan”
Michelle has never known her Dad NOT to wear a hat.