THE MALLEE LIVING HISTORY BOOKS
The Mallee’s Living History
“The stories of a generation who nurtured children and worked to develop caring communities.”
The Mallee’s Living History series started as an opportunity to give residents at Princes Court the chance to tell their stories – a way of validating their life experience and share with others that, behind their apparent old age, they have lived lives of value to the wider community. The very act of having someone listen to and share that experience is a potential source of good health and self-belief.
Everyone who lives a long life has a fascinating story to tell. Resilience and a positive attitude, the ability to reinvent ourselves as circumstances change, engagement with and interest in people and issues, loving relationships, and finding a worthwhile purpose are all critical factors in leading a long, rewarding life, and successful ageing.
Everyone goes through hardships, grief, or significant disappointments, but it is the way we deal with these experiences that makes all the difference. The support of our family, friends and community is essential.
Mallee Living Histories is a project which engages community volunteers and corporate sponsors who together collect the lived histories of those in our care and publish stories which residents can share with family and friends.
The project has the added benefit of contributing to the knowledge of care staff and their ability to chat with residents about their lives and their experiences. “I did not know that you grew up there, I did not know you had worked in that …” At Princes Court and elsewhere, staff relish the chance to chat about things that are personal and engaging. A Monash University study confirms that the residents feel more valued and respected.
We are now working on Book 4 with the result that we will have captured more than sixty stories and it is now extended to stories from residents at three other regional aged care facilities and other interested individuals from the community. The next stage will see the development of a website which, with the permission of the storytellers, will make this important history available to the wider community.
Funds from the sale of these books are reinvested into the publishing of the next book in a pay-it-forward basis. This ensures the continuation of the project.