The MAC Culture in Ageing workshop series continued recently on Thursday, 22 August, with an all-day training session: The World’s Oldest Profession – Storytelling. Framed by the MAC Cultural Intelligence principles, nearly 50 participants were taken through Reminiscence theory, approach and activities.

Guest speakers included Kaleeda Rasheed, a member of the Druze community and Vanessa Leane, Program Coordinator, Treasured Stories program, St John Ambulance SA. Kaleeda talked about the experiences of the Lebanese Druze community, a community that has been present in South Australia for over a hundred years. She spoke of a current project, collating the history of this community and its importance to the people of their community to record their stories. Vanessa also spoke of the collecting of stories, but her project is based around a service rather than a single community. Service users from St John are referred to the program where they are matched with a volunteer, who through a series of visits, records their story, a story which is eventually transcribed and turned into a book. The project helps older people to reconnect and to find a sense of purpose and enjoyment in life.

The session focused keenly on the strengths of reminiscing and the positive role it has in addressing identity problems. It was also demonstrated how relating life experiences allows an older person to express their individuality. Participants were also shown how the process assists in acknowledging the client’s life with a structure which incorporates their historical, cultural, social and geographical aspects.

These are particularly important aspects for CALD older persons whose migration stories and experiences have influenced and shaped both theirs and their families lives. Participants also discussed how reminiscence therapy is an instrumental approach in past problem solving and coping abilities.

Using the MAC cultural intelligence framework, participants were taken through the 4 As; Anticipating diversity of the individual, family; group and communities accessing aged and community care services; Acquiring  the demographic information about the individual, family; group and communities one is dealing with through images, photos and cultural artefacts; Applying the information and knowledge about the individual, family or group gathered to communicate, connect and engage with the individual and Adjusting one’s perception, responses and actions accordingly.

A host of activities on the day included A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, Recording Life History on Fabric, a Cultural Memory Box as well as the Cultural Self. These were all thoroughly enjoyed by the many eager and willing participants.

Many people attending also took the opportunity to share and reflect on their own stories and experiences.

To see photos of the day please visit the MAC Facebook page.

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