Alex O'Brien

Caring

Importance of programs connecting aged care patients and children

Importance of programs connecting aged care patients and children

Intergenerational care. It could be the next big thing in both aged care and childcare. But what exactly is it, and how does it benefit both parties?

Australia’s Griffith University is currently researching how intergenerational model might be the next logical step in caring for both the elderly and the very young. “It arose from thinking – ‘Wow, why isn’t it normal to bring up children with the help of older people?’” Professor Anneke Fitzgerald told Community Care Review.

“It may very well be that older people learn very well from children, like children learn very well from older people,” Professor Fitzgerald believes. “If you just imagine a picture of an older person sitting with an iPad being taught by a four-year-old how to swipe from one window to another, then that is exactly what we are talking about.”

Intergenerational care programs have already proven successful overseas and are slowly being introduced to Australia and New Zealand. The Adopt a Pop, Gain a Granny program is currently being rolled out in Geelong, pairing together local primary schools with aged care residents, and so far the results have been very positive. “We learnt about the history of many of the elderly people there and we got to make relationships with our new friends,” one primary student wrote on the program’s website.

So, what is it about intergenerational care that’s so beneficial for both the young and the old? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits.

For the elderly:

  • More opportunities for social interaction
  • Improved mental and physical health
  • Stronger sense of community
  • Sense of purpose
  • Boost in mood
For children:

  • Improved social skills, particularly towards the elderly and disabled
  • Better academic performance
  • More positive attitude to ageing and disability
Related links:

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