Combining sustainability and community engagement with meaningful and purposeful activity in residential aged care

Bringing the concept of Repair Cafes into aged care homes

Repair Cafe

Living Care is embarking on an exciting new project by setting up a Repair Café in their residential aged care home in Nowra on the south coast of NSW. Martine Postma introduced the Repair Cafe concept to the Netherlands in 2009 and there are now over 1000 cafes worldwide. It is a meeting place for the public to interact, bring small household items in to repair, gain new skills by learning how to make repairs themselves and develop friendships within your local community. It promotes sustainability with community engagement.

There are less than 10 Repair Cafes in Australia and as far as Living Care is aware they will be the first aged care provider to ever set one up in a residential aged care home. TAFE Illawarra – Nowra campus have been approached and several of their Certificate IV Community Services students will assist with the setup of the project and this will form the basis of their major Community Development project for their course. The Café will operate once a month with the expected 3-month trial period to commence in August. Trained volunteers from the community and the aged care home will set up repair stations and undertake and teach members of the community how to make simple repairs. It is hoped people will think twice before disposing of what could easily be repaired. Services will include such things as sharpening garden tools, sewing on buttons, taking up a hem, fixing torches etc.

This innovative program will bring the community into our home and encourage intergenerational activity and engagement, sharing knowledge, offering social interaction and developing relationships and friendships. However, we will take it further and hope to encourage older people living alone in the community to come and socialise on the day and people with a disability to train in simple repairs and help man repair stations with trained volunteers. It is thought the Repair Café will bring positive outcomes for all involved and could be facilitated in different contexts across the Living Care organisation - watch this space!” Toni Wallwork.

[Source: Toni Wallwork, Acting Group Diversional Therapist Manager, Living Care]