Intergenerational visits between children and aged care residents are not only a heart-warming initiative but one with profound benefits for both the elderly and the young. The simple joy and laughter that children bring naturally uplifts the mood of older people, often diminishing feelings of loneliness or boredom.
In celebration of International Day of the Older Person, children from the Goldfields Child Care Centre recently visited Victoria Park Nursing Home and Hostel to perform a concert and distribute gifts to the residents.
In the lead-up to the visit, the children and their families worked together to collect donations of an assortment of everyday essentials such as flannels, bars of soap, shampoos, conditioners, hand creams, tissues, toothpaste, and toothbrushes to gift to residents. Each resident received their gift bag personally delivered from the children, with messages of love for residents to brighten their day and remind them that they are remembered and cared for.
Goldfields Child Care Centre Educator and Event Organiser Maureen Nicholls said the partnership first began in 2004 and had continued for 19 years in honour of the Centre’s founding member, Lorna Mitchell, who was a resident at the home until she sadly passed away nine years ago.
“I identified a need to engage children with the elderly, as many families here do not have their grandparents living close by or their elderly family members had passed away,” she said.
“Through this partnership, the children are learning good morals and values and beginning to understand that kindness to others and doing for others is essential for the wellbeing of everyone, as well as inclusion and acceptance of others and learning about respect.”
The benefit of intergenerational visits for both children and elderly residents was evident in a recent project where students from Success Primary School joined forces with residents at Frank Prendergast House (FPH) for a community sewing project.
The students spent the term crafting soft toys based on designs drawn by FPH residents. The project concluded at the end of the term and the students presented their creations to the elderly residents during an afternoon tea at the home.
The project was established to further develop student’s empathy and strengthen intergenerational connections. With up to 40% of residents in residential aged care homes not receiving regular visits, this project was also a heart-warming example of how community members of all ages can help combat loneliness and isolation in the elderly population.
FPH Lifestyle Coordinator Vanessa Parker said she saw a noticeable difference in residents during the student’s visit.
“Some residents who are quite withdrawn or at risk of isolation, they came out and engaged with the students the whole time they were here,” she said.
“I definitely saw a big difference (in their overall mood).”
The positive impact of connecting different generations has been further demonstrated at our homes with students from Trinity College visiting our residents at Villa Pelletier. During their visits, the students connect with residents by playing board games, going on walks, and engaging in meaningful conversations. Each activity acts as a bridge, connecting two generations and facilitating the sharing of experiences, stories, and life lessons.
These interactions exemplify the heart of community spirit and highlight the transformative role simple initiatives such as intergenerational relationships play in enhancing lives.
If you are a school teacher, student or individual wanting to reduce social isolation in our elderly residents, you can register to become a volunteer here: