Award Date: 2018
Project Lead(s): Donna Levi, Recreation Therapist
Project Title: Zeitgeist: Utilizing Intergenerational Co-Design & Storytelling as a New Model for Therapeutic Recreation in Long Term Care Facilities
Social isolation, loneliness and cognitive decline are major concerns for seniors living in long term care facilities. To address these challenges and provide opportunities for intergenerational social exchange and storytelling, we conceptualized Zeitgeist Vancouver, a storytelling project which brings together residents living in long-term care and design students to co-write and co-design publications which highlight residents’ stories. Through a unique collaboration between Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and the Health Design Lab at Emily Carr University (ECU), the goal of this project is to develop a new therapeutic recreation (TR) model for engaging residents in meaningful activities to address loneliness and cognitive decline. Through a social innovation approach, this project gives voice to residents, providing opportunities for creative and emotional expression, stimulation of positive memories and the engagement of residents in a unique and meaningful activity. Simultaneously, this project offers design students learning opportunities in communication and participatory design, creating a mutually beneficial intergenerational platform which combines and leverages local assets to enhance existing TR services. Adapted from a project within a care home system in Switzerland, led by designer Carolyn Kerchof, we piloted Zeitgeist Vancouver at Purdy Pavilion (a VCH long-term care facility) in Spring of 2018 with 12 residents and 18 students from ECU. Through further testing and validation of the Zeitgeist Vancouver project, we intend to develop an innovative TR model which leverages community assets to enhance the cognitive health and well-being of residents within long term care facilities in Vancouver.