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Tasmanian theatre company Terrapin is helping to improve the well-being of our residents at Barossa Park, with the smiles on their faces proving puppets aren’t just for kids.

OneCare Chief Executive Officer Peter Williams said the performance was another way to enhance the healthcare environment for all residents, including those with dementia.

“Puppet shows aren’t just for kids; by incorporating progressive art practices into aged care, we hope to improve well-being outcomes,” Mr Williams said.

“OneCare is a strong advocate for best practices in aged and residential care, and there is increasing evidence linking creativity to mental health and well-being, particularly as we age.”

Titled Forever Young and developed over two years by Terrapin, the program draws on several therapeutic approaches, combining them through puppetry.

Facilitated by three multi-skilled artists with extensive professional experience in the arts, aged care and therapeutic delivery, the immersive experience captures the essence of family and stimulates memories of old-world items and events.

“Forever Young was made especially for this audience, through two years of trials, evaluation and asking older people what they wanted to see in a show,” said Terrapin artistic director Sam Routledge.

“This performance is part of a six-week tour of Tasmanian aged care residences, the first of its kind in the state,” Mr Routledge said.

“The program also includes individual one-on-one bedside visits for residents with more progressed dementia, ensuring we reach as many of our residents as possible,” OneCare CEO Peter Williams said.

Forever Young has been supported by a range of partners and donors, including the Tasmanian Community Fund (TCF).

TCF Chairperson Sally Darke said that Forever Young was a great example of the arts collaborating with the aged care sector and industry experts to deliver a well-developed and meaningful program that would have a lasting and positive impact on audiences.

“We were very pleased that Terrapin has developed Forever Young through a process where it pilots the program first and take the learnings and feedback to make improvements,” Ms Darke said.

“The TCF seeks to fund programs that build stronger, more vibrant and resilient communities. What Terrapin has done is delivering entertainment that builds social connection and enhances interaction through drama therapy.

“We are really looking forward to hear more feedback from residents and staff about the difference the program has made as they tour it around Tasmania.”

The performance promises exciting responses from residential living and dementia-impacted elders – as well as staff and family members.

“Additionally, to support and supplement the program, OneCare staff are provided with a creative therapy report based on artists’ observations during their bedside visits for ongoing care suggestions and engagement strategies,” Mr Williams said.

To see the pics and the Southern Cross TV news bulletin, please head to our Barossa Park Lodge Facebook page here.

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