Puppet therapy putting smiles on faces of elderly

An innovative program from Terrapin Puppet Theatre, supported by the Public Trustee, is being used to enhance wellbeing in aged care residents.

The Public Trustee has sponsored Forever Young: Puppetry in Aged Care performances in aged care facilities which will travel around the state until July.

Forever Young is a unique full-day program for residential aged care, including a bespoke performance and tailored one-on-one interactions with residents.

The partnership aims to address the challenges in building relationships with clients who have dementia.

“We are proud to support Terrapin as this program can have a joyful and positive impact for our clients and the community,” Public Trustee CEO, Todd Kennedy, said.

“This is another opportunity for us to engage with our clients and studies show that initiatives like this help build empathy and connection amongst people with dementia.”

“We’re delighted to have the support of the Public Trustee on our 2024 Forever Young tour,” Terrapin Artistic Director Sam Routledge said.

“Forever Young has been embraced by the community and the aged care sector, and this support is vital to the program’s success.”

“Our sponsorship and attendance at the Forever Young Tasmanian tour is an opportunity for us to further engage with our clients, their families and their supports,” Mr Kennedy said.

“This program aims to deliver entertainment, but also to build social connection and enhance interaction through drama therapy.”

Many studies have indicated the benefits of the arts in aged care.

Terrapin worked with the University of Tasmania on the development of Forever Young, ensuring the program is impactful for residents and staff.

A report found that:

  • 94% of survey respondents enjoyed the puppetry interaction and performance.
  • The use of puppets prompted memories and emotions that reminded them of their own childhood play and entertainment, as well as that of their children.
  • The performance encouraged expressions of empathy and connection, particularly with those experiencing dementia and/or depression.
  • Residents enjoyed the opportunity to laugh and engage with music and valued that the program was created especially for them.

For more information about Forever Young: Exploring Puppetry in Aged Care Settings please go to the Terrapin Puppet Theatre website.

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