Developed through a partnership between Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) and Arts Outwest, the Virtual Art Snacks initiative delivers stimulating arts activities to seniors via video conferencing.
At Blayney Multipurpose Service, the virtual workshops have been a huge hit with residents over the past two years. “The residents have had so much fun with these sessions. We have seen many positive impacts including increased socialisation,” said Facility Manager Kathy Hiller.
The art snacks are displayed on large TV screens at the facility. Hiller explained that everyone eagerly anticipates the weekly sessions. “Everyone looks forward to it and want to come out of their rooms each week to get there. It is always fun and there are plenty of smiles and laughs to go around.”
Diversional Therapist Allyson Goodman observed how residents who were initially reserved fully embraced participating by the end. “They felt uplifted, valued, appreciated and they really enjoyed it,” she said.
The program aims to stimulate and engage older individuals, including those with cognitive or physical impairments. The virtual aspect makes specialised programming accessible for rural seniors who may be isolated.
By training aged care staff as well, the initiative builds capacity to deliver ongoing engagement activities that maximise quality of life. “Our Activities Officer has been trained and will continue these art snacks for our residents and their carers,” noted Hiller.
Across WNSWLHD, over nine Multipurpose Services have benefited from the Virtual Art Snacks, including Dunedoo, Oberon, Warren, Baradine and Coonamble.
The program demonstrates the power of technology and creativity to overcome barriers and nurture the community. Simple arts activities delivered online can profoundly enrich the lives of rural aged care residents by providing joy, stimulation and connectedness.