In society today the generations are often
separated; families don’t always live together or even stay in the
same town or city any more. Older people often live in
aged-care facilities, children attend day-care centres, and the two
age groups rarely come together. There are many advantages to
intergenerational programs. Intergenerational care brings a
positive and pleasurable situation as the older and younger
generations are brought together.
There is a large focus on positive ageing, but
if we look at what is important in life to people in general, it
often includes doing things for others, relationships and work.
Keeping older people in aged-care facilities engaged in
meaningful activities that involve participation with children has
been seen to benefit both the older people and the children.
To run a successful program there needs to be
cooperation and planning from both the aged-care facility and the
day-care facility. This is to ensure that safety and health
requirements are met. Once such a program is set up and
running there are positive outcomes. The older people find a
sense of purpose as they participate in setting up simple art and
craft or other activities in the room with the guidance of
lifestyle staff (diversional therapy staff). When children
and older people participate in activities together there is focus
on what the person can do rather than what they
can’t do. The speed is slowed down, there are more visual
cues and there is less emphasis on speech or memory, especially
when templates are used. This is helpful for older people
living with dementia. Complex things are broken down into
The benefits of integration between an
aged-care facility and a child-care facility are social inclusion,
and enjoyment for both the children and the older people.
There is also a reason to talk and laugh. It gives older
people a chance to recall memories from their own parenting or
childhood. There are advantages for younger people too.
It increases generational empathy and alters their perception
of older people living in their communities. This idea can be
enhanced further if the aged-care facility integrates with a
play-group where parents are also in attendance. This would
bring three generations together.
A well designed intergenerational aged-care
and child-care partnership program would respect the participants’
need for a sense of security, order and dignity, and would
acknowledge the individuality of participants, both children and
older people. The easiest assessment of a successful
intergenerational program is the smiles on the participants’ faces
̶ young and older.
Angela Uhrhane RN
Pastoral Care Nurse Lutheran Aged Care
Parish Nurse Wodonga Lutheran Parish