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The Art of Conversation: How Story Telling Values Older Australians

Media Release
4 February 2019

The Art of Conversation: How Story Telling Values Older Australians

The art of conversation and storytelling values older Australians, the Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria said today as it released its Reminiscing Story Cards initiative.

Ronda Held, Chief Executive of COTA Victoria, said it is vital in both the general community and especially in the Aged Care environment that the Art of Conversation is an integral part of maintaining the health and quality of life for older Australians.

“Conversations are one of the most important activities and experiences for keeping the memory and mind active for positive communication and quality of life during the ageing process.”

Victorian Minister for the Ageing and Disability, the Hon. Luke Donnellan and Ronda Held, CEO of COTA Victoria discussing the many uses of the Reminiscing Story Cards for families, aged care facilities and community groups.

Victorian Minister for the Ageing and Disability, the Hon. Luke Donnellan today welcomed the development of COTA’s Inspiring Reminiscing Story Cards as a major initiative to stimulate conversation amongst older Victorians.

Minister Donnellan said with the innovative project, created in conjunction with Swinburne University, people can break down the sharing of stories into three stages – beginnings; strengths and successes; and challenges and wisdom.

“ This initiative’s simplicity spans the generational digital divide.”

“Starting the Conversation is as simple as opening the box and discussing the stimulating topics on the cards.”

“Not a computer, tablet or mobile phone in sight.”

Ms Held said the story cards assist older people reminiscing in a supportive environment and with a focus on strengths and positives, to potentially lift their mood, and remind them and their families of their resourcefulness and depth of experience.

The cards feature a photograph on the front and have special messages on the back to prompt conversations about a person’s history, employment, marriage, children, friends and special times in their life.

Research in the past has shown that activities such as conversations not only bring happiness but are also beneficial in maintaining a healthy mind and stimulating memory, an important activity to help combat memory loss and dementia.

Gerard Mansour Commissioner for Senior Victorians

The Commissioner for Senior Victorians, Gerard Mansour said one the enduring and important aspects of the Inspiring Life Stories program is ensuring the identity of parents, grandparents and great grandparents are captured in a way that they are not lost to future generations creating a unique family record to hand on to following generations.

“It is also a personal rewarding experience for older people to feel their life history is both appreciated and valued by family and friends.”

Ms Held said for people visiting family and friends in aged care facilities the Reminiscing Cards can provide a helpful discussion starter and stimulate conversation through pictures and questions.

The Reminiscing Story Cards also provide a valuable resource for Aged Care staff training in providing a range of Conversation Starters and an easy to use group activity.

Media Enquiries:
Ron Smith, Media Communications, COTA Victoria –
Mobile: 0417 329 201

Dementia statistics. There are more than 400,000 people in Australia with dementia. Of those people, about 55% are women.

Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in Australians over the age of 65 years, and the third leading cause of disability burden overall.

Dementia statistics | healthdirect

The cost of the Reminiscing Story Cards is $45.00 including postage

Purchase online

Funds raised will be used by COTA to extend services to older Victorians.

For more information contact COTA Victoria on phone 1300 13 50 90 or by emailing

COTA Victoria and Minister announce a positive new campaign to keep the memory and mind active.

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