Intergenerational care and how it benefits all Australians

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  Published on Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Intergenerational care and how it benefits all Australians

Library Home  >  Parenting & Family Life
  Published on Wednesday, 14 November 2018
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Intergenerational care unites child care with aged care, and although this is a fledgling approach in Australia, a new Griffith University project is bringing preschoolers and seniors together to see how intergenerational care could play a greater role in our society.

What does the Griffith University project involve?

Called the Intergenerational Care Project, this Federally-funded initiative is all about providing purposeful activities to build relationships between the young and not-so-young, instil a sense of meaning, and bring about positive change in aged care.

The project connects children aged three to five with people aged 65 and older, who are living with and without dementia, to trial these two models of intergenerational care:

  1. The Shared Campus Model: which involves child day care and aged day care centres sharing the same site, facilities and infrastructure, intergenerational care is delivered in a multi-function room that both age groups use, and

  2. The Visiting Model: where the child day care and aged day care centres are located in different areas and either the children or the seniors are transported to the other centre for an hour of intergenerational activities each week.

This program is looking at the socio-economic costs and benefits of intergenerational care and is seeking to create an evidence-based education program; it’s also considering how intergenerational care can positively affect the workforce. For instance, it may help aged care and child care workers to think about a career in the opposite sector.

In terms of the big picture, Griffith University Lecturer, Dr Katrina Radford explains that, 'Our overarching aim has always been to find a way for intergenerational care programs to be part of the normal social policy program in Australia, which is underpinned by a sustainable business model.'

With this in mind, what are the benefits of intergenerational care?

There are many positives that come with grandparents and grandchildren sharing time together, and outside the family unit, intergenerational care still has a lot to offer:

  • It provides opportunities for children to learn from and connect with an older generation
  • It improves youngsters' 'pro-social behaviours' of helping, sharing and cooperating
  • It gives older people a sense of purpose and improves their social outcomes
  • It changes community perceptions and helps us see seniors and the ageing process as something positive

When it comes to seeing older people with fresh eyes, and considering the long-term benefits for preschoolers, Dr Radford says, 'Intergenerational care programs begin to unpack the stereotypes surrounding people living with dementia and people over the age of 65 in general … In addition, it may contribute to reducing juvenile delinquency and improving the social outcomes of some children by creating meaningful relationships with people living in the community.'

What are the next steps when it comes to intergenerational care?

The Intergenerational Care Project finishes this month and Griffith University will provide a full report in June 2019 and discuss intergenerational care policy with the Government.

2019 also brings an innovative partnership between Kalyra Woodcroft Aged Care and Southern Montessori School in Adelaide, where Council has approved the co-location of some middle school classrooms alongside an aged care home.

This is an Australian first, and Kalyra Communities CEO, Sara Blunt says everyone involved is very enthusiastic about the initiative.

'We are really excited that 35 students … will occupy classrooms that are on the same site as our residential aged care accommodation [because] this partnership will give students a wonderful learning environment, and ample opportunity to engage with civic and community life …

Our residents are very pleased to contribute to the life skills of the students and will benefit from lifelong learning, and new technology,' she said.

All in all, intergenerational care has much to offer Australians, whether they're preschoolers, middle schoolers, care workers or retirees.

For an international perspective on intergenerational care read our article here.
 


References:

Aged Care Guide: Project Hopes Children Could Prove Key in Creating Change in Aged Care

Aged Care Guide: Intergenerational Redevelopment Gets the Go-ahead in SA

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Monday, 27 July 2020

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