Oryx Communities shares reflections on intergenerational care and its benefits
Nita Peploe had an unusual childhood, growing up alongside her parents in nursing homes around the metropolitan areas of Perth, living with residents on a daily basis.
It was this unique lived experience that inspired her, along with her partner Toby Browne-Cooper, to establish aged-care and retirement service Oryx Communities in 2014.
To help the residents to feel a sense of connection to their local community, Oryx’s Claremont branch, the Queenslea, hosts an intergenerational program that encourages elderly residents to interact with children on a weekly basis.
Ngala Early Learning and Development Service is located on site, and shares a courtyard with the residents, allowing everyone to interact on a daily basis and to easily see one another through the fence.
Once a week, the Queenslea “neighbours” are invited to Ngala for shared activities. The programmed activities run on a six week cycle, allowing all residents to take part.
Each week seven residents meet with 14 children, and participate in activities on shared themes such as literacy, numeracy, and arts and crafts.
“Today was numeracy, where they were measuring and paying for groceries with some paper money, and forming connections with the neighbours who were guiding them,” explained Queenslea’s Lifestyle Coordinator Melissa Taylor.
The program has been a blessing for both aged care residents and children, each of whom “come out of their shells” by participating, she added.
Oryx measures the impact of the program using outcome measures such as mood, physical wellbeing, and mental health, with participants assessed before, during and after participating in the program.
Resident Ron, who has been living in the service for a year, said the program reminded him of being young, and of his own parenting and grandparenting experiences.
The children benefit also, with Ngala Claremont coordinator Rebecca Lucy sharing that some of the children in the program didn’t have grandparents nearby.
While there have been some logistical issues in getting the program up and running, particularly around governance (the aged-care home is governed by the Federal Government, the retirement village is governed by the state government, and the Ngala service is governed and regulated by both state and federal legislation) the benefits make the program “worth the effort,” organisers say.
There are plans to expand the program to other Oryx communities shortly.
To read the original coverage of this story, please see here.
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