This week (28th January-4th February) is the 12th annual National Storytelling Week and to celebrate, special story-based events are happening all over the country in association with an ecletic range of organisations. One organisation that is getting involved in a big way is Bupa, who we recently ran a Get Into Reading pilot project with.
Across their 300 care homes in the UK, Bupa will this week get residents as well as members of the local community sharing stories and bringing the act of storytelling to life. Alongside a number of special storytelling events, Bupa residents will also get the chance to take part in a special poetry and short story competition, sharing their own stories.
From our time spent partnering Bupa, and as the range of our work with older people tells us, we know that sharing stories with care home residents has a great effect in a number of ways – boosting wellbeing, increasing relaxation and good mood, stimulating memory and encouraging connections not just with themselves but with relatives, care home workers and one another.
The strongest testament to the power of shared reading has amongst Bupa care home residents comes from family members of residents who have witnessed firsthand the positive effects of storytelling on their loved ones, and how it leads to the telling of personal stories:
Since attending the group my Dad has rediscovered his love of literature. He does not have the concentration to read for himself so being able to read out in a group and have poetry read to him and discuss the piece together has been great for him. He has also met other people from the other house where the group is held with whom he has interacted.
At one session recently Dad started chatting to another member of the group and it turned out that the three other gentlemen had attended the same school as my dad. My dad is in his 80’s and it was lovely for us as a family to see him becoming animated about stories he had shared with the 3 guys. He talks very fondly of the atmosphere in the group, it sounds very welcoming and creates an environment where people can chat freely about the piece they are reading.
My Dad also told me that one of the people in the group used to have difficulty speaking and since going to the sessions has now started talking to the other members – this is a massive credit to the group and the way it is presented…it has given my dad so much joy.
The Reader Organisation fully supports the ongoing storytelling sessions at Bupa care homes nationwise, knowing that the act of storytelling holds great therapeutic benefits for older people, and we hope that as many people as possible – old and young alike – will get involved in the activities to experience for themselves the wonder of reading and storytelling.
If you would like to find out more information on how to attend or take part in a Bupa storytelling event, call 0845 600 4622 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .