This year has been very challenging for everyone and particularly for those involved in aged care. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality & Safety has uncovered systemic problems which hopefully will be addressed, and the industry can move forward positively. It is my hope that elderly people will always be able to receive the level of care they need and continue to live worthwhile lives whilst in an aged care facility.
A lovely ray of hope in aged care was the documentary aired on the ABC in August 2019 Old People’s Home for Four-Year-Olds. The series became a hit, touching the hearts of many Australians. The documentary was based on a study into the benefits of intergenerational interaction.between pre-school children and elderly residents in aged care This important research from Griffith University has led to the establishment of a shared campus model in Wellington, New South Wales.
The Maranatha Gunyah Intergenerational Learning Centre draws on the research from Griffith University’s Intergenerational Care Project, which promotes interactions through games, reading, and singing to combat memory loss and loneliness. The Learning Centre has invited residents from neighbouring Maranatha House Aged Care Facility to join pre-schoolers in these activities in purpose-built rooms.
Professor Anneke Fitzgerald is a lead investigator in the project and was quoted in an article written by Dale Drinkwater in ABC Western Plains as saying –
“Mixing with younger children through an activity will help people with their reminiscence to transfer to next generation, but reminds them of their own worth, a sense of self-actualisation, a worth to the world, and a sense of purpose.
“The older folk would talk to one another more, they are much less cranky, much more engaging with one another, and there is less buzzer ringing during the night.”
“One of the main things we found is that when children mix with older people, they are much less likely to be delinquent in teenage years. The societal impact is massive,” she said.
“Their linguistic skills improve, their reflection skills, they are more curious about history, and a higher level of interest in the world around them.”
It’s wonderful to see such an innovative project come to realisation and I hope to see more projects like this be introduced in future models for aged care.