Key Takeaways:

Guest Speaker Maurie Voisey-Barlin uses Creative Therapeutic Engagement to work with older adults with dementia. Understand how this interactive and customized engagement is helping older adults and his creative adjustments to it during the pandemic.

Commonly referred to as the Window Therapy guy, Maurie Voisey-Barlin is arguably the most famous creative engagement specialist for elders in Australia. He is also the founder of Outside in Collective. His passion for working with older adults means he’s currently pursuing a UTAS Dementia Care degree. He plans to use this degree in conjunction with his creative and theatrical talents. Maurie graduated in 1992 from the UWS Theatre Nepean program with a B.A. in Performance. He has gone on to perform and teach workshops with non-actors since 1994. He developed his style with Darlo Drama which he took to the community working with the homeless & disadvantaged communities as both a performer and workshop leader. 

His passion for theater led him to be a founding member of Milk Crate Theatre tutor persons with disabilities with Parramatta Riverside’s Beyond ABBA theatre program. Maurie joined Arts Health Institute (AHI) in 2012, where he delivered the “Play Up” Humour Therapy program for elders living with dementia in residential aged care.

Maurie strives to give voice and foster social inclusion of persons who often struggle to be heard. 

An innovative way to connect during the pandemic!

With Covid-19 restrictions in place, Maurie was no longer able to have one-on-one interactions with aged care residents. But that didn’t stop him! He soon developed a new way to connect, known as the 'Window Therapy' in which he interacted with the community through a windowpane. This meant he could still connect and delight residents of many senior living facilities including those of Whiddon where he hosts weekly sessions. 

His Creative Therapeutic Engagement is generally a weekly one on one session with elders living with various stages of dementia. These sessions might include music, song, playful banter, reminiscence, jokes & yarns, imaginary play, advice, comedy, nonsense & slapstick depending on the person Maurie is working with. All of these sessions are interactive and Maurie creatively devised ways to adjust them through the window when it wasn’t possible to attend residents in person. 

Maurie attempts to tailor each interaction to the individual person's idiosyncratic history & identity, by exploring their preferred interaction style and identifying positive triggers. Oftentimes family and the care team provide insightful input for the best possible interactive experience. 

Using creative arts to tackle loneliness

The Window Therapy initiative was started to enhance the lives of older adults who were especially isolated and lonely during the lockdown periods. Maurie believes imagination, playfulness and creativity through meaningful connection is the key to tackle difficult situations. 

Join us on October 20th, as Guest Speaker Maurie talks to us about his journey to create Window Therapy and his passion for connecting with older people. Maurie will also reflect on his father’s legacy and the legacy he hopes to leave behind as well.

May 19, 2022
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