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Jazz My Zimmer arts collaboration

By Fiona Wilkins - March 18th, 2024 | Posted in Article

Pupils from St Philip’s and Carew Academy are working together on an arts project called ‘Jazz My Zimmer’.

‘Jazz My Zimmer’ is taken from an idea that was publicised on the BBC website in 2017  whereby Care Home residents in Wales collaborated with local children to decorate their Zimmer frames and walking sticks.

BBC story website

It can be difficult for adults with dementia to recognise their own walking aids so therefore decorating them acts as an important remembering aid.  Ironically, walking aids can also be a tripping hazard and one care home who has taken part in the projects claims that it has reduced falls by up to 60%.

Taking our lead from this project, pupils from the primary department at St Philip’s School visited Amy Woodgate House to decorate their Zimmer frames.

Led by community artist Louise Pasquill, the pupils visited the care home twice. On the first occasion pupils met and interviewed the elderly residents taking part to ensure that the walking aids were customised to the individual, serving as a unique reflection of each person’s personality, interests, and history.

On the second visit Louise had sourced a variety of materials that could be used and demonstrated different tying techniques.  Using these techniques the pupils decorated the Zimmer frames and walking sticks working closely with the elderly residents.  It was wonderful to see the interactions and exchanges between the elderly and younger individuals.  For our pupils it was a great opportunity to develop empathy, respect for diversity, and an understanding of the aging process.  From the smiles and laughter of the elderly residents we worked with they obviously enjoyed spending time with our pupils.

For the second visit we were joined by Sixth Form students from Carew Academy, a SEN school in the same academy trust, who came with their teacher to photograph the project.  These photos will be exhibited in May at the King’s Centre in Chessington and we hope will inspire others in the area to develop intergenerational activities.

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