New Programs Bring Joy to Respect Residents, Bridge Generational Divide

Coates, Cooinda, Tyler Village |

Intergenerational programs, events and activities in aged care homes are growing in popularity across Australia – and it’s for good reason too! 

These programs foster meaningful interactions between older adults and younger generations by bridging the gap between age groups and creating mutually beneficial relationships.

For residents of aged care homes, the benefits are manifold. It’s been reported that engaging with younger individuals can alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation, which we know can be often prevalent among older people. Such interactions stimulate cognitive functions, enhance emotional wellbeing, and promote a further sense of purpose and belonging. Residents experience joy and fulfillment from sharing time with schoolchildren, which fosters self-esteem and mental health. 

Beyond the immediate value for residents, intergenerational programs also yield broader societal advantages. They cultivate empathy, respect, and understanding between generations, helping dismantle age-related stereotypes from a young age and fostering inclusive communities. For younger participants, they develop enhanced communication skills and build self-confidence, while also enriching their own social and emotional development.

Across Respect, a number of our homes are proud to host and take part in thriving intergenerational programs with local schools and day care groups. Not only is each initiative immensely beneficial to our residents but they also strengthen our homes’ connections with their surrounding communities through regular engagement and collaboration, which forms an important component of Respect’s ongoing mission. 

Intergenerational programs at Respect

For example, a new intergenerational program has created a significant buzz around Tyler Village – our home in Prospect Vale, Tasmania – and according to Social Care Assistant Tamika Stretton, residents continue to enjoy the benefits.

“I have a friend who runs ‘Little Sprouts Family Day Care’. Each fortnight, we organise for her to bring in her day care children, about six of them, who range from six months to four years old. The residents absolutely adore them,” she says.

“Before each session, we work together behind the scenes to plan what we are going to do, to try and make it something that is engaging for both the children as well as residents. 

“After every meeting, the residents share such positive feedback. One of our recent sessions was really beautiful… the kids brought in items for show and tell and they spent time going around and talking to each of the residents individually too.” 

Tamika says Tyler Village also runs intergenerational activities with several local schools around the region. This includes a regular pen pal initiative with primary school Sacred Heart, which has particularly proven popular with residents. 

“That’s another thing the residents love. We’ve actually found the activity is also popular with some of the male residents who sometimes don’t like to join in other social activities because they can sit in their room and write or read a letter in their own, private time.” 

Intergenerational programs at Respect

Another one of our homes who also recently launched a new intergenerational program is Coates in St Arnaud, Victoria.

Jane Snell, General Manager of Coates, says the ongoing initiative has been ‘a wonderful hit’ with residents and will be an ongoing feature of their social care calendar, thanks to some fantastic collaboration with the Northern Grampians Shire, St Arnaud Primary School, and the St Arnaud Early Learning Centre. 

“Our program is all about building connections between our residents and little ones in our community, and I’m pleased to say it’s already brought so much happiness and joy to those taking part,” Jane says. 

“The smiles on the faces of both our residents and the kids involved says it all. Each session is such a memorable and lovely time enjoyed by everyone, including our staff helping out. We’re so proud to be engaging with other groups in the community to make it happen, as well as continue in the future.” 

Our Cooinda aged care home in Lithgow, New South Wales, has also been running an ongoing intergenerational program with Lithgow High School, and Theresa Saint, their General Manager, says that residents “light up when they see the students arrive”. 

“It’s been so wonderful and made a big difference. Several of our residents who may not regularly engage with our social activities are now eager to get involved with the activities,” she says. “For the kids… some of them come may have little or no access to grandparents or older family members and we’ve also seen them come out of their shells. It’s lovely hearing all the laughter. 

“We have one young student that has really brightened a resident’s life, as the latter feels a bit isolated due to being sight and hearing impaired. It’s examples like that put the impacts of valuable programs like this into perspective.” 

Cooinda residents have been enjoying the fortnightly program for about eight months now and regular activities include craft, shared afternoon teas, group reading and valuable one-on-one engagement time. 

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