Building bridges that bring laughter to two generations
Intergeneration Program (2)
Intergenerational Programs have been implemented in many parts of the world and proven beneficial to both the younger and older generations. With the proximity of the Residential Aged Care Facility, our CASS Campsie Child Care Centre began implementing the Intergenerational Program. Seeing the benefits of the initiative, Gumnut of Forum also followed suit, taking the opportunity to collaborate with the CASS Korean Community Group at West Ryde by establishing an Intergenerational Program. In conjunction with this, Gumnut also formed a second partnership with an external Aged Care Facility located in St Leonards, Glenwood Aged Care.
The Centre Director shared her experience of the Program, “We had an overwhelming supportive response from our families who were pleased and touched by such an initiative and who also understood the importance for children and elderly to interact. We had parents who expressed their wish to participate and to go along to the visits to Glenwood Aged Care.”
“Both programs kicked off in July 2016 with visits to CASS West Ryde taking place once a month and visits to Glenwood Aged Care twice a month. The children were transported to CASS West Ryde by a CASS van to engage in a cultural exchange with the Korean community members. The Korean members were quite mobile, social and friendly. One barrier we did come across for this program was the language, with none of the children able to speak Korean and only a handful of the Korean members able to speak a few words of English. However, through the efforts of the co-ordinators, both parties were engaged in activities which encouraged participation through different means. These activities included the children learning a traditional Korean Game called “Yuet”, both groups doing Tai-Chi together by following an instructional video, and making a Christmas wreath using beads. The children learnt to greet the Korean members by learning a few key words and to greet them in a traditional way such as bowing.
Our visits to Glenwood were of a different nature with the children and educators taking a twenty minute walk to the Aged Care facility. The elderly residents at Glenwood were from diverse cultural backgrounds. The majority were less mobile with some in wheelchairs, some with high support needs and a handful of ‘Centenarians’ who were over 100 years of age! On these visits, the children would start the visit by greeting each resident individually and afterwards, they would sit down with a few elderlies on a table to do a drawing or to listen to a story being read. On some visits we had parents joining us. We had a few mothers who became emotional in seeing the elderly residents because the contemplation of their own mortality and of their parents as well resulted in a greater appreciation for the program. The families of the residents were also aware of the visits and were equally supportive and appreciative of the program. The Director of Glenwood said she had conversations with some of the elderly residents who would recall the visits and looked forward to when the children would next visit.”
Overall, support for the Intergenerational Program has been very positive with short term benefits clearly evident such as the children becoming more comfortable being around the elderly and approaching them to communicate and some of the residents at Glenwood showing a heightened mood with the children around. The Centre will continue with the Intergenerational Program in the new year as we continue to work together to demonstrate when generations come together, everyone benefits, children, older adults and the community at large.