Unlikely friendships between generations have been springing into life on the Gold Coast as part of a superb intergenerational program headed by Robina’s Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities and early education provider Little Scholars.
Inspired by ABCTV’s social experiment documentary Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, which brought together retirement home residents and preschoolers to see how they interact to affect each other’s health, happiness and understanding, once a fortnight 20 kids from Little Scholars catch up with their elderly counterparts.
The liasons help the children mental and social development skills while helping to alleviate challenges of isolation and dementia commonly faced by seniors.
“It’s teaching them that they can get so much more from a grandparent than Google,” Jae Fraser, founder of Little Scholars, told Seven Gold Coast News.
Fraser said intergenerational care initiatives are backed by research and are producing extremely positive developmental outcomes for young children, giving them a healthier understanding of the world around them.
“Having frequent interaction with people who are one or even two whole generations older than themselves, can help children become more accepting of differences – especially when it comes to disability – as well as helping them learn about the natural aging process and reduce potential fear of elderly people,” he said.
Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities founder and private aged care specialist Phill Usher, said the aged care residents really look forward to the visits from their young buddies.
“The night before the kids come there’s a buzz around the dining table, they can’t wait, they get up early in the morning and check their watches and all that sort of thing,” he said.