In Perth, a unique intergenerational program is bringing children and elderly residents together, transforming aged care facilities into vibrant community hubs. Two prominent examples are the initiatives at CraigCare Ascot Waters and the Queenslea facility by Oryx Communities in Claremont. These programs demonstrate the profound impact of fostering relationships across generations.

Building Bridges with Students

At CraigCare’s Ascot Waters home, students from Bob Hawke College are making a significant difference in the lives of elderly residents. The students visit regularly, engaging in a variety of activities that promote bonding and mutual learning. Janice Bell, Chisholm Care Coordinator, highlights the diverse interactions, from students interviewing residents to create life storybooks, to painting nails and participating in morning walks.

“The daily morning walks have been a special time for both the residents and the students as they share their stories and conversations,” Bell says. “On ANZAC Day, Year 12 student Jude D’Souza played the Last Post at the ceremony, evoking powerful memories and emotions among the elderly residents.”

Feedback from CraigCare has been overwhelmingly positive, with staff noting the joy and sense of purpose these interactions bring to the residents. The students also gain valuable insights and a deeper understanding of the elderly, creating a symbiotic relationship that benefits both groups.


Queenslea: A Shared Campus Model

In Claremont, Oryx Communities’ Queenslea facility, in partnership with Ngala Early Learning and Development Service, runs a unique shared campus model. Elderly residents and children engage in weekly activities, from arts and crafts to simple educational exercises. Melissa Taylor, Queenslea’s lifestyle coordinator, describes the program’s structure, emphasizing its rotational nature to ensure all residents participate.

“The themes change weekly, and it’s wonderful to see both the children and the elderly come out of their shells,” Taylor notes. “Residents initially hesitant become more mobile and engaged, showing visible improvements in mood and wellbeing.”


Extensive benefits of intergenerational interaction:

  1. Enhanced Mood and Wellbeing: Regular interaction with children has been shown to improve the mood and overall well-being of elderly residents. The joy and energy that children bring can lift spirits and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  2. Reconnection with the Past: For many elderly participants, spending time with children helps them reconnect with their own childhood and reflect on their achievements. This can reaffirm their sense of importance and provide a positive outlook.
  3. Reciprocal Learning: These programs offer valuable learning experiences for both the elderly and the children. Elderly residents share their knowledge and stories, while children bring fresh perspectives and new information, fostering a rich exchange of ideas.
  4. Staff Enrichment: Aged care and childcare staff involved in these programs report increased job satisfaction and a sense of meaning in their work. The collaboration between the two sectors also opens up new opportunities for professional development and cross-training.
  5. Community Building: These initiatives create a stronger sense of community, bridging generational gaps and fostering mutual respect and understanding. They also provide a support network for families, especially those who may not have extended relatives nearby.


Moving Forward

The success of these intergenerational programs in Perth is a testament to the power of bringing generations together. As more aged care facilities and childcare centres consider implementing similar initiatives, the potential for widespread positive impact grows. By nurturing these connections, we can create a more inclusive, compassionate society where everyone thrives.

About Jennie McNichol

After spending 11 years in London working in the television industry for the BBC, Jennie McNichol made the move to Perth in 2010. As the Co-Founder and Editor of Buggybuddys, she has been able to use her experience and passion for helping families to create a trusted online resource for parents across Perth.
Jennie is the proud mother of two daughters, aged 14 & 12 and is a big advocate of the family-friendly lifestyle that Perth has to offer.

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