A group of Catholic Healthcare residents from St John’s Villa, New Lambton are affectionately known as ‘grand friends’ by the children from Busy Bees childcare centre in Cameron Park.
Since February, a small group of residents have been accompanied by St John’s Villa Lifestyle Coordinator, Aymon Jones for regular visits to the childcare centre. Aymon was eager to establish an intergenerational program after watching popular ABC television program, Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, and when Aymon reached out to Busy Bees Service Manager, Ashton Meadows she was equally excited to establish the program.
“It was so amazing to watch the residents open up and saying to the children, come and play with me!” says Aymon.
The interactions between those young in years and those young-at-heart are heartwarming. Seeing their faces light-up and listening to the laughter and conversation between the two groups is so rewarding.
The residents enjoyed the visit so much they were enquiring when they would be returning to see the children. To maintain the friendships, Aymon and Ashton came up with a brilliant idea! “We are sending letters back and forth to our little friends at Busy Bees to keep the communication open between visits,” says Aymon.
Research suggests that intergenerational programs are beneficial for both age groups. The older members receive stimulation and social interaction, and the younger members can learn from the older members.
Another benefit is those who live far from their families or frequently feel the longing for interaction with their grandchildren, the visits offer a new dimension of diversional therapy, with the effects demonstrating positively long after each visit.
Catholic Healthcare is a pioneer in intergenerational programs. In 2017 Villa Maria Fortitude Valley participated in a successful intergenerational playgroup trial with Playgroup Queensland in 2017. Find out more about the trial here.
About St John’s Villa
Located in the historical suburb of New Lambton in the Newcastle region, St John’s Villa is our lovely residential aged care home. To find out more about St John’s Villa, click here.