Old cars are good for you as you age, especially for those living with dementia. That’s the message from the caring folk at Bupa Aged Care Bankstown, an organisation that has joined forces with the Old Motoring Club to instigate activities that are having a positive impact on the facility’s residents.
Classic car shows are rmly on the activities list at Bupa Bankstown, which Bupa’s head of dementia services Margaret Ryan said is about bringing like-minded people together.
“A classic car show is a social way to relieve stress and engage in meaningful and joyful conversations with our residents. For people living with dementia, keeping active and socially engaged is wonderful for their self-esteem and general wellbeing. For older people, their risk of dementia may be reduced when they are connecting and reconnecting with what they love and enjoy,” Ms Ryan said. “Classic cars are a form of nostalgic therapy for our residents. In what other way can someone choose an era where they’d like to return? They simply choose the year of car, pick a model, pick a colour, tune into their favourite AM radio station and they’re instantly transported back to a time and place of their choice. It is a virtual reality for those who were born before the term virtual reality even existed.” Resident Bill Prigg, 95, had fond memories return through being reunited with a vintage Ford Falcon he once owned and the involvement of his old car club. While Bill’s XL model Falcon was the object of his affections, fellow car enthusiast and Old
Motoring Club secretary Tracy Cutrupi brought her 1962 Chevrolet Belair along for other residents to reminisce over.
“The car belonged to my father, he bought it brand new and I’ve owned it ever since he passed away,” Mrs Cutrupi said. “The Chevy was our family car then, and now, I use it to take my family to our Sunday club events and to special gatherings such as the Father’s Day Show at Bupa Bankstown for our mate Bill.
“Bill and his wife Mavis were the founders of the Old Motoring Club and so when Bill retired as secretary in 2013, I lled the position with Bill close by my side. Bill and Mavis would always receive a hand delivered copy of the monthly club journal and believe it or not, I still do it now.
“He isn’t just an ex-member, he is a member of our family who created a legacy and culture within the club,” she said.
Bupa Bankstown recreational activities officer Ruth O’Toole said that events are about making the residents happy.
“The sheer joy that cars from their era bring to the home is astounding – they start talking about their rst dates and their rst car and all the things they did in them,” Ms O’Toole said.