VMCH Providence Aged Care Residence, Bacchus Marsh and Pentland Kindergarten are a great example of an intergenerational program which is benefitting young and old.
Providence hosts the 4-year-old kinder class every two months, with young and old participating in various activities.
Lifestyle Coordinator Julie said she reached out to the local kindergarten bring the community together.
“I think it’s important that we remember that residents don’t need to be isolated just because they live in an aged care facility.
“Connecting with local groups can only be a positive in the lives of our residents.”
Pentland Kindergarten teacher Jacinda says after the initial discussions they locked in a years’ worth of visits and haven’t looked back since.
“The kids love coming here. They always get very excited before we come, they can be a bit nervous but once they’re here, they’re fine and really enjoy themselves.
“We do a combination of interactive and social activities, like drawing, doing puzzles, playing games. Things they can both engage with at a similar level.”
Jacinda says the reaction of the residents has been one of the best parts of the program.
“It’s really wonderful to see them all interact. The residents have said that spending time with the children brings back a lot of memories. We’ve heard that a few residents who don’t normally come out of their room much are trying to come out and be a bit more social.
“The kids love socialising too, as do their families. They say that they talk about the program a lot at home, and parents love it too, they’re so glad to see their kids inspire and bring back some youthfulness to the residents.”
Julie says the nature of the children is what makes the experience so enjoyable.
“I just love seeing the interaction; children bring so much joy, they don’t have a script to follow, they are themselves, anything goes. Really, in a lovely sort of way, our residents sometimes don’t have a filter either, so they end up not having a filter together!
“One of our residents doesn’t usually come out, until recently, he gave it a go, and he made paper planes. He had a queue of children waiting for him to make the paper planes. It was such a positive outcome, it was beautiful.”
Providence resident, Margaret says she loves having the children come and visit.
“They are so funny,” she says. “They just come up to you and show you their drawings and ask you to help.”
Gerda agreed, saying she also enjoys having the children visit, and how friendly and not shy they are.
And the kids?
They like coming because there are lots of people and the activities are fun. But they also like the little packet of chips they get at the end of every visit. And you can’t get more childlike than that!