Warrawee intergenerational playgroup fun for all

    The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is like no other. But for young and old people living in rural communities they are often separated from their families by long distances.

    A new initiative at our Warrawee Aged Care Service in the remote rural town of St George is bringing residents together with younger children in the community.

    When Belinda Tolete and her family moved to St George, her children were no longer close to their beloved grandparents.

    Belinda approached Warrawee Aged Care Service Lifestyle Therapist Terri-Lee Mills and told her of her plight to find a playgroup for her children and to interact with older persons in the local community. It was decided a playgroup should be established with local children and Warrawee residents.

    ‘I have always wanted to have an intergenerational playgroup’, Terri-Lee said. ‘I spoke to my service manager [Julie Bryant] and service support officer to work out what we needed to do to be able to start one.’

    ‘We are lucky enough to have a day care building complete with equipment right next door, so everything that we needed was there. And as Belinda is a teacher, she was able to organise activities’, she said.

    Intergenerational playgroups have documented benefits for both young children, who develop friendships with older ‘foster grandparents’, and aged care residents who report improved memory function and mood. For parents of the young children, it is an opportunity to network and build connections within their community.

    At the first playgroup, eight children, five parents, six community care clients and 10 residents enjoyed a morning of social interaction playing games, singing songs, dancing and playing dress ups.

    As the young and old enjoyed playing with playdough, sculpting and shaping creations, they bonded and connected.

    With dress-ups, balloon play and morning tea, the playgroup was a hit for the children, residents and parents, with many smiling faces departing the play date.

    If you or someone you know would like to become involved with the Intergenerational Playgroup please contact Terri-Lee Mills on 07 4629 2000 or Belinda Tolete on 0403 315 779.

    Posted August 26, 2016 in Lifestyle blog