Intergenerational care programs provide mutual benefits to older adults and children aged three to five by providing them with care and social support in the same setting, for short periods of time.
Ongoing research from the UK, US, Europe, and recent trials here in Australia have demonstrated the possible community benefits of integrated or partially integrated care programs between young and old.
Griffith University has been conducting their Intergenerational Care Project across four locations in Queensland and NSW, investigating the educational, workforce and economic benefits such programs can bring to Australia. Their preliminary results are positive; older participants have reporting an improved sense of life meaning and enhanced self-worth, positive shifts in community perceptions of older adults, improved behaviour and attitudes of children towards older people and a mutual sense of joy from young and old alike at being able to interact with each other.
Griffith University researchers identified two models of Intergenerational Care programs worth exploring:
- A shared campus model where an aged care centre is located in the same place as a childcare centre
- A visiting campus model where childcare and aged care centres are located separately and one group travels to visit the other.
The model appears to be gaining popularity in Australia, with Perth set to be the newest recipient of an intergenerational care facility, The Queenslea. The Queenslea is based on the first model, and will offer Assisted Living Apartments, Residential Aged Care and an Intergenerational Childcare Centre for approximately 80 children, on asingle site.
Griffith University researchers anticipate this being an increasingly popular model, both as an attractive career path and as an effective model of care in the face of increasing economic, demographic and social pressures.
You can read more about Intergenerational Care in Australia here