A South Australian aged care facility has commenced a new intergenerational program that is already proving a hit with its residents.
Matthew Flinders Home in Port Lincoln has teamed up with a local children’s centre for an intergenerational playgroup once a week, which has children taking part in activities with residents living at the home.
Facility manager Danielle Green, said while the program is only in its second week, the benefit for residents, particularly those with dementia and other cognitive decline, has been remarkable.
“Residents who may have cognitive decline or forms of dementia really come alive when the kids are around. We’ve seen people who are normally reserved and quiet really engage with the kids – more so than they do with adults.”
The partnership came about when the local playgroup coordinator approached Matthew Flinders Home to create an age-friendly community initiative.
“The program was originally for the benefit of the kids, but there have been other intergenerational initiatives that have shown great benefit to the residents too,” Ms Green said.
“We’ve had a great response from residents, it’s proving very popular and the playgroup also now has a wait list for participating in this activity.”
“I would definitely recommend it to other aged care providers.”
“We prepare a large living area and have about 20 residents and up to 15 children with their parent. The playgroup coordinator organises the play, brings toys and activities for everyone. We might focus on music one week and colours the next. The children, their mum or dad and the residents do activities together and then have free time to sit and talk or play together.”
“The sessions run between 45 minutes and an hour, which is just long enough before people start to get tired. It is quite a noisy environment and we need to be conscious of people’s tolerance to loud noise,” she said.
Ms Green said health precautions are in place, with a mutual understanding by both organisations that anyone who is sick cannot attend.