Feros Care is one mighty organisation. They run beautiful residential care centres, filled with life and activities, and animals and picnics, they celebrate ageing in all its glory, and have been recognised in Australia for innovation using sustainable practices, smart technologies and positive ageing.
I had a great conversation with Kate Swanton from Feros. In 2014, they organised the live and interactive broadcast of the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival at Feros aged care facilities on the Gold Coast over the event’s three days. The centres were decorated to create a festival atmosphere, and residents were able to ask questions to the authors at each session’s Q&A, too. Isn’t that amazing?
The idea was to keep seniors connected to their communities, offering a tremendous literary opportunity to those who may otherwise feel isolated or who don’t have the ability to physically participate in events like festivals and performances. There are plans to develop a virtual seniors centre, with virtual yoga and the like, I basically LOVE this idea. It shows the power of digital to open up the world – creatively and socially – and also the way the care settings can be venues in themselves if technology allows.
We also talked about how important it is for literary projects with older people to be purposeful. I really responded to the word ‘purposeful.’ That’s what everything in life should be, including the arts. The artist’s role is to find a shared purpose if they’re working with seniors, valuing the skills and ideas of everyone involved and the culture of the host organisation, too.