Intergenerational researchers put the call out for ECEC educators to support new work

Intergenerational researchers put the call out for ECEC educators to support new work

by Freya Lucas

June 01, 2022

A cohort of Australian researchers are looking for early childhood education and care (ECEC) partners to work with them as they conduct clinical trials to see if community-based intergenerational practice effectively reduces frailty in our aging population.

 

The researchers have been successful in gaining a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant of $3.7 million over five years to address the issue of frailty, which has been described as the ‘public health crisis for an ageing society’.

 

Researchers wish to expand on the on-screen benefits they observed arising from a non-familial intergenerational practice as depicted in the ABC television show ‘Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds.’

 

The program demonstrated the power of bringing together community-dwelling older adults and preschoolers to reduce the older adults’ frailty. While the show’s popularity has led communities around Australia to instigate similar intergenerational programs, a recent systematic review by the researchers found only small-scale, largely qualitative evidence for such intergenerational practice.

 

Comprising of researchers from the University of New South Wales, University of Sydney, Griffith University, University of Queensland and other areas, the research team wishes to extend its pilot studies to rigorously test an intergenerational practice program using a cluster of randomised, blinded endpoints clinical trials bringing community-dwelling older adults and preschool children together in 44 clusters.  

 

The community-based INTErGenerational Intervention to Reduce fraIlTY (INTEGRITY) trial has been co-conceived and co-designed with a community and stakeholder team. Chief investigators include Ruth Peters, Kenneth Rockwood, Anneke Fitzgerald, Susan Kurrle, Ruth Hubbard, Monika Janda and Craig Anderson along with several associate investigators, most of whom are members of the Australian Institute for Intergenerational Practice (AIIP).

 

We have found that the best way to set up this community-based research is to base the delivery of the intergenerational practice around preschools and we are currently building a list of preschools that might be interested in participating,” Associate Professor Ruth Peters said.

 

“To be part of this research we are looking for preschools where the preschool educators are interested in getting involved and where the preschool has a hall attached or close by where we could hold the intergenerational sessions, bringing together 10 of the preschool children and 10 older adults from the local community. We might not be able to take everyone who is interested but we are keen to hear from you if this describes your preschool!”

 

If you are interested in taking part in this trial, please contact Associate Professor Ruth Peters ([email protected]) or Emeritus Professor Anneke Fitzgerald ([email protected]).

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