Merbein aged care home to host ECEC service, benefiting young and old

by Freya Lucas

January 12, 2021

An aged care facility in north-west Victoria has opened an onsite early childhood education and care (ECEC) facility on its grounds, building on the success of an intergenerational music program. 

 

The service is significant not only for its move into the field of intergenerational wellbeing and collaboration, but also because it is the first long day care service in Merbein, meaning families will no longer need to travel to Mildura, a short 15 minute drive away, to access long day care. 

 

Residents of Chaffey Aged Care first became acquainted with the local children through a music program in 2018, which allowed parents and their preschool aged children to visit and make music with the residents. 

 

The Music Together Generations program “included everything from dancing to modern pop tunes, to well-known nursery rhymes and even international songs,” an article from the ABC noted.

 

Speaking with journalist Kellie Hollingworth Chaffey Aged Care CEO Darren Midgley said the outcomes from the program were amazing.

 

“We saw residents who had profound dementia, who couldn’t speak any more, who were singing, and we had residents who were in chairs and had fixed postures tapping their fingers or feet to the beat of the music,” Mr Midgley said.

 

While music therapist Catherine Threlfall hoped the trial would be a success, she never imagined that bringing children and the elderly together would result in such a dynamic change. 

 

“The children bring an energy to the room and those residents leave feeling energised and connected and that is a lift to your day when you live in residential care,” she told the ABC.

 

Programs for both residents and children attending the long day care service will include reading, music, craft, dance, cooking, gardening and walking, and will take into consideration the ever changing social distancing requirements in effect as a result of COVID-19. 

 

To access Ms Hollingsworth’s coverage of this story, please see here

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