TALES FOR TELLING AND SHARING
Learning for the Fourth Age (L4A) has been delivering storytelling in 10-12 care homes and we have found it to be a very positive way of including and involving those whose situation can cause them to feel isolated and excluded from activity.
This applies not only to those whose state of health can prevent them from joining in conversation and activities but also to those who themselves often choose not to join general activities.
Participation in the shared activity of storytelling sessions has brought noticeable increases in confidence and wellbeing for residents, as well as a real sense of pride in their achievements.
We aim to introduce storytelling to a care home over a schedule of sessions, ideally starting on a weekly basis to build awareness, recognition and expectation. Sessions will encourage interaction and participation, stimulating sense memories and helping people to learn about each other and understand each other better.
Crucial to this project is the involvement and contribution of care home staff, and the support and encouragement of care home management.
In order to help homes continue to sustain the positive impact of storytelling beyond our work, we have staff training events planned, where staff from different homes who have witnessed the beneficial effects of storytelling will come together and learn directly from the storyteller. They will discover how they themselves can use techniques of storytelling for positive impact on their residents and on the relationships they have with them.
Staff will then be given opportunities to put into practice what they have learnt, in sessions fully supported by the storyteller within their home. They will receive clear and simple guidance, with notes on relevant props, music and other cues. It is hoped that this will enable them to gain confidence and assurance, so that over time they can then lead sessions independently, using the storyteller just as a contact point for queries.
We are about to undertake a formal evaluation of this work to learn from all the work that we have done and to write up a report about what would work for other people looking to replicate this sort of work in the future.