Older customers find a voice through student project

09 Mar 2021

Students from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London are working on an innovative intergenerational project called “Your Story Your Way” with older residents – some living with onset dementia – living at Protheroe House, our extra-care scheme in Tottenham.

Over virtual chats, students help the resident they’ve been paired with to bring old memories back to life, and together they come up with ways to tell, and preserve, their lovely stories.

The project provides a great opportunity for the residents to have stimulating conversations and build new friendships with people from younger age groups at a time when lockdown has limited social interactions and activities.

Participants get to choose how they’d like their stories to be told – whether it’s through poetry, film, or music – and, at the end of the project, they get to keep the end product as a memento of the experience which they can then share with friends and family.

In one of the sessions, couple Michael, 71, and Sylvia, 81, took a virtual trip to Austria. Through the workshop, they shared their fond memories of the country they visited many times for family holidays when they were young since they both had Austrian mothers.

John, 91, who also took part in the project, said: “It brought back memories talking to the students and got me delving deep into my thoughts. I really enjoyed telling the stories about my fishing expeditions.”

Another resident, Margaret, 88, was very impressed about the workshop: “Wow! These poems are fantastic and look lovely. Thank you all for the fun workshops today, everyone absolutely loved sharing memories and then receiving a poem each at the end of their session which made it very special!”

This project is delivered by Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s students, as part of their Knowledge Exchange strategy, in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.