Stories for the ages

Baptcare Hedley Sutton resident, Wendy has forged a strong friendship with a young university student, as part of an innovative project to deliver better care to residents in aged care.

She meets with Jennifer Stargatt, a Swinburne University of Technology student who’s undertaking a PhD in Psychology each week, to swap stories and listen to the life of a young woman who has grown up in a very different world to her own.

“I am very interested in Jennifer’s life. She is very passionate about what she does and it’s very interesting that it is different to what my children have done with their lives,” Wendy said.

Wendy and Jennifer are one of two pairs of students from Swinburne and residents from Hedley Sutton, who are developing a ‘digital story’ from the stories told by Baptcare’s residents.

The stories are recounts of their lives, special moments or stories that have moulded the residents into who they are as individuals.

The program itself allows for both sides to learn different things about each generation, which Jennifer said was a great starting point for every conversation.

The bond that has been formed between these two women is strong and full of respect, one that Jennifer found remarkable, given the short span of time the two women have gotten to know each other.

“It is important that older people have contact with the younger generation. That inter-generational connection is lacking in today’s world and this project is breaching those barriers,” Jennifer said.

“We spend time getting to know each other before we begin on the project itself. My life as a 24-year-old today is very different to that of Wendy’s life during her 20s.”

With Wendy moving multiple times early in her marriage, her fascination with Jennifer’s study is understandable.

“My husband was in the army, so we moved around a bit before we came back to Australia. I grew up during the war years. It’s very different to what Jennifer’s life has been like,” Wendy added.

The final digital story will run for around three to five minutes for each resident and will include a song and voice-over by the student to create something special to describe the resident.

Baptcare Hedley Sutton Volunteer Coordinator, Liana Udris said the project provides an avenue for staff to better understand the residents.

“We are all about providing the best of care to our residents, and this project allows staff to better involve themselves in that. They can select any resident involved in the project and watch a quick video about them, allowing them to provide better quality, tailored care,” Liana said.

With the digital stories currently in production, Jennifer said she couldn’t wait to finish hers, with the aim to gift the stories to the residents for Christmas.

“I have really enjoyed the whole process and am looking forward to seeing the look on Wendy’s face when she watches the product of our journey.”

Contact: Annemarie Watt

Phone: 0428 063 664