Living in residential aged care can be lonely and socially isolating. It’s estimated up to 40 per cent of people living in aged care in Australia don’t get visitors.
The early years of parenting can also be a lonely time. Playgroup Queensland developed a program called Ageless Play to bring the two generational bookends together. We created a playgroup for people living in aged care and families needing support during their early parental journey. The results are incredible.
Play is beneficial for both adults and children. At playgroup, parents stay and play with their children, who are all under 5 years old. While playgroups are multi-generational, to become intergenerational required intentionality. In the early months we pondered: How could we deliver a playgroup program that was engaging for all ages?
In the early stages of the pilot in 2017, Playgroup Queensland worked with staff at the aged care home to develop and trial the intergenerational playgroup. The playgroup met once a week facilitated by aged care staff and an experienced playgroup facilitator. Playgroup members contributed to the weekly session by suggesting play activities. This contribution was important, as it encouraged interaction and enjoyment. Once the group got to know each other, the facilitator helped members to explore common interests and share experiences.
“Thank you all for the warm welcoming smiles you give us when we arrive. It always makes us feel so special and at home. It has been wonderful getting to know you and at times hearing about little parts of your life…” (Playgroup member).
The pilot exceeded our expectations and led to Playgroup Queensland expanding our intergenerational program. The Ageless Play playgroup is now in its third year. People of all ages look forward to attending the playgroup each week.
“Seeing the smiles on their faces just warms your heart. It reminds me of the memories I had when I was young,” (Playgroup member).
What next? The playgroup continues to meet each week as we slowly expand the Ageless Play Initiative. We also continue to learn more about intergenerational learning and programing. We are currently applying for recognition as a TOY Quality Programme member.
About Playgroup Queensland
Playgroup Queensland is a not-for-profit organisation. Our mission is to support children and families to build relationships, skills and confidence through play. We value learning through play, sharing experiences, inclusion and excellence in delivery. We recognise and support parents and/or carers as their child’s first teacher. For more information on playgroup organisations across Australia please click here
If you would like to find out more about Ageless Play please click here
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