Twelve Balgowlah Heights Public School Students (BHPS) are participating in weekly visits to Hardi Aged Care Centre (Manly Vale), where they are “buddied-up” with an elderly resident to do gardening and craft activities together. Example activities include making cut flower posies, working on nature-themed craft, sowing seeds and planting vegetables in the vegetable garden.
The Aged Care Gardening Program commenced in October and consists of 1 x 45 minute gardening session per week for 6 weeks over October and November.
All BHPS students selected for the program regularly attend a weekly lunchtime gardening club at BHPS, have shown great enthusiasm towards gardening, and have developed a range of gardening skills during their attendance in years 3 and 4.
Many aged care residents who participate in the Gardening for Well-being program at Hardi Manly Vale are in a wheelchair, some have also lost the use of their hands, the ability to speak or their sight. What these residents haven’t lost is their enthusiasm to garden each week!
The aim of the Aged Care Gardening Program is for BHPS students to assist their elderly “buddy” by helping them complete gardening activities, while providing an opportunity for social engagement.
Session 1 – cut flower posies
In Session 1, students undertook an interview with their elderly “buddy” to get the know things like their favourite flowers, colours, and things to do. Students then filled in a questionnaire about themselves and gave it to their buddies, listing things like what they want to do when they grow up, their favourite animal and where they want to travel to.
Students and residents then worked together to make some beautiful cut flower posies for the residents bedrooms, using Gerbra, fern and other foliage.
“She wants to be a scientist and to travel to London! I must ask her about it next week”! – Richard (Manly Vale Resident).
Session 2 – Paper plate craft
In session 2, Students worked with their elderly “buddies” to complete a nature-themed craft activity, using paper plates, flowers, bees and lady birds. Residents thoroughly enjoyed the students’ visit, with some big smiles on their faces when the students entered the room. It’s lovely to see relationships beginning to form and the residents chatting happily about the experience after the students left.
“That was delightful! We could do with that everyday!” – Linda (Manly Vale Resident)