ECTs set up intergenerational care facility in Mornington, inspired by grandmother
Early childhood teachers Anna and Fiona Glumac have established The Herd Intergenerational Learning Centre (ILC) on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, inspired by memories of their late grandmother Mary, who spent the last years of her life in residential aged care.
They chose the name The Herd as a nod to the respect that elephants have for elderly herd members.
“When our beautiful grandma made the transition to residential aged care, it was heartbreaking to see some of her spark fade,” Anna recalls.
“She lit up around young children, so a program like this would have been life giving. Our project is for her.”
Built under the same roof as the Uniting AgeWell Andrew Kerr Care aged care facility, The Herd has received financial support from the Victorian Government, Uniting AgeWell and the ongoing generosity of philanthropic organisations and members of the community.
Set to open early in 2023, the service will educate and care for 66 children aged between six weeks and four years of age. Aged care residents will be able to visit a lounge space and watch the children play.
There will also be regular shared activities like art, music and storytelling. There are a number of benefits for both children and the elderly from these shared care spaces, with children developing higher empathy and social connection while the adults have a reduced risk of dementia, and experience less isolation and loneliness.
Fiona Glumac hopes the service will inspire others, and that intergenerational care becomes more widely available in Australia.
“Our project is unique because residents will have the opportunity to come to the childcare centre and experience the joy of seeing and hearing the children in play whenever they are feeling lonely,” she explained.
Rose and Barry Smith are a husband and wife duo who are current residents of Uniting AgeWell Andrew Kerr Care Community. They are both looking forward to participating in the intergenerational activities,which they said “will bring a sense of community into our home; a great enjoyment that will not only enrich our lives in residential care, but also the children’s”.
Two-year-old Walter Knight is enrolled at the service, with father Andrew excited by the possibilities the centre will offer.
“We hope it will help Walter become a more empathetic and compassionate little person and create core memories that will give him a lifetime of appreciation and respect for our older generation,” he said.
Learn more about The Herd ILC here.
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