A GROUP of nursing home residents will have their eyes on the sky as they take part in the Rutherglen Bird Project.
The pilot bird watching project, funded by the Victorian Department of Health, aims to create strong bonds among those living in aged care and reconnect them with nature.
Project researcher Jenny Indian said statistics showed about 70 per cent of residential aged care residents were medicated for depression in Victoria.
“This is a staggering statistic,” she said.
More than 40 people attended yesterday’s launch at the Senior Citizens Club in Rutherglen.
The project will involve up to 18 residents from Glenview Community Care Nursing Home in Rutherglen taking part in bird watching.
Residents will travel by bus to areas around Rutherglen, including Lake Moodemere and Lake King.
“There are a lot of water birds around the Rutherglen area and there are a huge number of honeyeaters,” Ms Indian said.
The project is a partnership between Indigo North Health and La Trobe University and will involve local school students and the Rutherglen Landcare Group.
La Trobe University researchers will monitor and evaluate the 12-month project.
“They will be looking to see if the project has made a difference to their physical and mental health and wellbeing,” Ms Indian said.
Ms Indian said some of the project’s events would be open to the public.