Adding life to years
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Memories, An Anthology


Memories, An Anthology

Status: Completed

Evaluated

Rockingham Australia
Print this page City population: 13900016% over 60Practice started in 2018

Summary

This project was part of a wider Age-friendly Rockingham Communication Campaign which included five different projects. The objectives of the campaign were to: address ageism; assist seniors to share their memories and life events; recognise the positive contributions made by seniors and carers; and to increase community awareness of key issues affecting seniors and carers.

For this project, the City hosted a series of eight memory writing workshops for older people between October and December 2018. Facilitated by Rockingham Writers Centre, participants learnt new skills and knowledge that equipped them to reminisce, record and write parts of their life stories and memories to share with others. Extracts of their work were published in a 110-page book entitled ‘Memories, An Anthology’, compiled by Rockingham Writers Centre. Copies of the beautifully produced book are available at the City’s and State’s Libraries. An electronic version of the book can also be downloaded from the City’s website.

The workshops were extremely well received by the group and strong friendships formed over the course of the series. At their final workshop, the group shared with the City officer that they would normally not feel comfortable sharing certain personal experiences with other people, but quickly felt comfortable enough to do so as they didn’t feel ‘judged’ by other participants and the facilitator. This realisation evoked strong emotions for some. For most participants the experience was liberating and provided an opportunity for them to continue to record their memories in written format to share with their loved ones.

Website: https://rockingham.wa.gov.au/seniors

Key facts

Main target group: Older people in general

Sector(s): Education, Information and communication

Desired outcome for older people:
Learn, grow and make decisions

Other issues the Age-friendly practice aims to address:
  • Ageism
  • Inclusion
  • Participation

Contact details

Name: Bethany Dubberlin

Email address: bethany.dubberlin@rockingham.wa.gov.au


Age-friendly practice in detail (click to expand):

Engaging the wider community

Project lead: Local authorities

Others involved in the project:
  • Civil Society Organisation

How collaboration worked: The City received grant funding from the Department of Communities (state government) to deliver this project. Rockingham Writers Centre, a local not-for-profit organisation, facilitated the workshops, compiled the anthology and oversaw the production of the books.

Older people’s involvement: Older people helped to implement the age-friendly practice

Details on older people’s involvement: The workshop facilitator (a published author) is a senior and was able to connect to workshop participants as peers, whilst teaching them new skills and information. The group connected to her on a level that younger people may not have been able to.

Moving forward

Has the impact of this age-friendly practice been analysed: Yes

Was the impact positive or negative:
Positive

Please share with us what you found in detail:
100% of participants enjoyed the workshops and reported they learned something new. Comments received about what they learnt included: “So much! About writing styles, researching family history, bringing memories out and on to the page. About how emotional events can be healed somewhat through writing. How wonderful it is to hear others’ stories.” “I have always wanted to share my memoirs with my family – I am so happy to have learnt how to do this!” “I learned a lot of strategies for getting started writing, strategies that made me explore what I felt, saw, thought of when recalling a particular event.” One of the participants wrote the following acknowledgment letter to the facilitator: “Who would have thought that in attending a Memoir Writing course we would be taken on such an amazing journey? Through the structure and presentation of the course, Teena [the facilitator] has honed our writing skills, encouraging us to view and record our memories with a fresh approach to bring them to life. Unbeknown to us at the start, the way she challenged us to write also triggered strong emotions over past experiences we thought we had dealt with and laid to rest long ago. No so. While some memories recalled happy or fulfilling times, many released painful feelings from years past, even causing tears. These heartfelt reactions were valid, and empathetically responded to by Teena. Their release enables us to see they give authenticity to our story and enable our readers to engage with us, the storyteller. In turn, Teena engaged us with her cheerful disposition, encouragement and understanding. How could the experience be fun, sad and enriching at the same time? It was. Thank you Teena, for what you have given us. Your gift is appreciated and treasured, and will be embedded in our writing.”

Feedback:
The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive. Workshop participants felt empowered to record their life stories/memories to leave a legacy to their loved ones. Through the facilitator’s gentle guidance and caring nature, many people identified that memories were awoken which had been long forgotten. All participants responded that they intend to continue with their writing after the conclusion of the workshops. The community also responded positively to the books that were produced, and commented favourably on the professionalism of the book and the work produced by the older people.

Looking back

Challenges:
No challenges were faced.

Age-Friendly World