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Recognition for two Palmerston North eldercare initiatives

International recognition for two Palmerston North eldercare initiatives

Bringing library services to the door of the infirm and sharing memories with dementia care residents are two Palmerston North City Council initiatives that were recognised at the Eldercare Innovation Awards in Singapore last week.

The Palmerston North Living Room of the City’s Homebound Service was awarded joint runner-up in the Best Ageing in Place category.

Managed by home services co-ordinator Heather Hurrell, the service brings the library to the door for those who are physically unable to get to one of the library facilities.

City Librarian Anthony Lewis says it’s because of Heather and her band of volunteers that members of the community can keep reading, listening and watching library content, even when they are unable to gather it themselves. The service is available to anyone who is physically unable to get to a library service point. Currently more than 90 residents utilise the service. Some live in their own homes, others in one of the 14 rest homes in the City.

Before joining the service, Heather meets and talks with the person about what they like to read. Volunteers then deliver and return the preselected bag of books monthly, often becoming friends with the recipients, making for valuable, mutually satisfying social contact.

In the ‘Best Dementia Care Innovation’ category of the awards, the Living Room’s Reminiscence Series was a finalist. Friendship groups, religious groups and diversional therapists at rest homes are registered for the Reminiscence Series.

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Service guide Joanne Hamilton manages the series supported by the City Archivist who along with the seniors’ coordinator, selects images from the Palmerston North local history digital library (Pataka Ipurangi).

Anthony Lewis says the presentation involves talking about a thematic group of pictures and residents sharing their memories.

“Out of the total 41 finalists in all awards categories, we were the only public sector finalist,” says Mr Lewis.

The awards ceremony was part of a five-day conference held at the Ageing Asia Investment Forum. Speakers from around the world addressed the conference, including the two founders of De Hogeweyk in The Netherlands, a purpose-built village designed for people with dementia. The aim of the conference, which is focused on the Asia-Pacific region, was to present and explore new models for ageing with dignity.

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