After the huge success of Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds series, an ABC spinoff has been aired this week – this time including teenagers.
The premier of the ABC’s Old People’s Home for Teenagers (OPHFT) is a global-first intergenerational experiment where Aussie teens spent time with older people to see if they had a positive impact on each other’s well-being and sense of self.
The purpose of the five-week interactive experiment was to find a way to keep older people living independently, become more connected to their local communities and have a deeper self-worth and in turn, encourage the teenagers to be more resilient, confident and form genuine friendships within their own age bracket and beyond.
Seasons one and two of a similar experiment, Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, previously aired on ABC TV and showed that intergenerational care could improve the health and happiness of older Australians.
Professor Sue Kurrle, Aged Health Care Expert, is a member of the Advisory Council to the Aged Care Quality Safety Commission and was involved in OPHFT, who noted there was positive evidence to show how this experiment was a success.
Ali Faraj, Adolescent Expert, was also involved in the experiment and said he enjoyed watching both groups grow from their interactions.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time on OPHFT, to facilitate two different generations coming together and watch the growth from both groups was inspiring,” he said.
“Every person in life has a story to tell and the show allowed older adults to inspire youth by sharing their stories of joy, sadness, resilience, challenges, and happiness.”
There is a loneliness epidemic in Australian society and it affects older people and teenagers the most.
Ageism is now considered a human rights issue and the World Health Organisation has found that one of the best ways to eradicate ageism is through intergenerational programs.
Loneliness and isolation pose significant health risks, and older people and teenagers are particularly at risk.
The ABC experiment begins with a baseline measurement of the older people’s mental and physical state, and the teenagers are also measured with a wellness survey and a resilience, hope and mood scale, as well as an ageism assessment.
All participants are then reassessed at the end of the experiment to see how the experience has changed them, with the hope that there is improvement to their well-being, confidence, and mental state.
Old People’s Home for Teenagers screens at 8.30pm on Tuesdays on ABC TV and ABC iview.