Seniors gardening project sprouts award nomination

A unique gardening initiative that has helped to grow friendships between Lockyer Valley’s oldest and youngest green thumbs is in the running for a national aged care award.

The intergenerational gardening project at Carinity Karinya Place aged care at Laidley is one of the three finalists in Community Engagement section of the Future of Ageing Awards.

The national awards, run by Inside Ageing magazine, recognise leadership and innovation across Australia’s aged care industry and acknowledge aged care providers who are working to improve the lives of older Australians.

Laidley State High School student Luke Brady and Carinity Karinya Place resident Elsie Pomerenke tend to a garden.
Laidley State High School student Luke Brady and Carinity Karinya Place resident Elsie Pomerenke tend to a garden.

Carinity Karinya Place’s intergenerational gardening project sees residents and students from Laidley State High school work together to grow and harvest fresh fruit and vegetables.

The organic produce is then donated to local community groups and churches to distribute to families in need in the Laidley district.

The winners of the Future of Ageing Awards, judged partly on the potential for the product or innovation to be replicated in other aged care homes, will be announced on October 30.

Carinity Karinya Place Residential Manager, Tuttu Mathew, is proud that the awards have recognised the gardening initiative and applauded the efforts and enthusiasm of residents and students.

“Being one of three finalists for the Future of Ageing award is wonderful recognition for our residents and staff and welcome news in what has been a difficult year,” Tuttu says.

“The residents feel valued and respected as they have been able to contribute to their community and share their knowledge and their experience.

“Growing healthy organic vegetables has enabled our residents to assist in educating the students about gardening and the nutritional benefits of vegetables. Through the gardening project residents and students built social relationships which have grown and flourished.”

Carinity Karinya Place resident Shirley Sing with vegetables harvested from the aged care community's garden.
Carinity Karinya Place resident Shirley Sing with vegetables harvested from the aged care community’s garden.

Although COVID-19 has meant the school students haven’t been able to visit Carinity Karinya Place often this year the residents have carried on watering and tending to the plants, in raised garden beds.

Residents as old as 103 and less-mobile residents in wheelchairs have participated in gardening activities each week, which Carinity Diversional Therapist Therese Crust says has therapeutic and social benefits.

“Gardening enhances the quality of life of our residents who are very passionate green thumbs. They love the opportunity to get outdoors each week to enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and natural surroundings and dig in the dirt,” Therese says.

“Gardening involves exercise, promotes residents’ independence and physical functioning. It brings them brought them great joy as they can do things they used to do when they were more physically able.”

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