Last year at the National Virtual Conference 2022 of the New Zealand Society of Diversional and Recreational Therapists, we learnt from a session with Annelise Steyn about the importance of personal belongings in the life of our clients. She beautifully explained how these play a vital role in their lives and help them remember and relive those precious moments.
This inspires us to understand how these material items aren’t just something ‘random’. Material and personal items play a significant role in the lives of residents of retirement homes. Here are some reasons why:
Comfort and familiarity: Residents feel more comfortable and at ease when they are surrounded by familiar items from their past. These items can provide a sense of comfort and familiarity that can help ease the transition to living in a new environment.
Sense of identity: Personal items such as photographs, books, and mementos help residents maintain a sense of identity and remind them of who they are and what is important to them. It helps them remember their roots.
Social connection: Material items can also serve as conversation starters and provide opportunities for residents to share stories and memories with each other. This can help foster social connections and a sense of community within the home.
Emotional support: Personal loved items such as family heirlooms, keepsakes, and letters from loved ones can provide emotional support and a sense of connection to family members who may not be able to visit as often as they would like.
Mental stimulation: Personal items can also provide mental stimulation and help residents stay engaged in life. For example, puzzles, books, and art supplies can provide opportunities for residents to engage in meaningful activities that help keep their minds active and sharp.
We look forward to learning and receiving more insights from the New Zealand Society of Diversional and Recreational Therapists National Conference 2023. It’s always a delight!
Check out photos from a session with our Kauri students after conference last year: