An innovative care facility in Melbourne’s southeastern region is nurturing meaningful connections between older residents and children, fostering a truly intergenerational experience.
This “multi-generation” centre is part of Australia’s pioneering fully integrated healthcare precinct that emphasises the collaboration between different age groups. Children are paired with elderly companions for a range of engaging activities, such as storytelling and singing nursery rhymes.
Lou Pascuzzi, the Chief Executive of TLC Early Learning, revealed to Nine News Australia that this program has been a long-standing endeavour, taking nearly a decade to come to fruition.
Pascuzzi emphasised the positive impact it has on both the young and the old, allowing them to flourish in an unprecedented way. He stated, “Regrettably, the majority of existing aged care services still adhere to outdated practices that have been in place for over four decades. It was imperative for us to instigate change.”
Elderly residents expressed their delight in spending time with their young counterparts, which imbued their lives with renewed purpose and brought joy to their days. Margaret, a resident in the aged care facility, enthusiastically shared.
Parents and early learning educators have also witnessed the emergence of special bonds formed between the children and their elderly companions. Helen Toohey, the General Manager of TLC Healthcare, pointed out that this intergenerational connection is particularly meaningful for families who lack proximity to grandparents due to living overseas or in different states.
Recent research has shed light on the myriad benefits of intergenerational interactions, highlighting the importance of diverse age groups spending quality time together. Associate Professor Jane Page from the University of Melbourne emphasised the significance of fostering a strong sense of community, as it cultivates a deep-seated feeling of belonging among individuals.