The age gap spans many decades, but that’s all part of the fun for the seniors and tiny-tots who get together once a week for a morning of play, smiles and cuddles at Baptistcare William Carey Court Residential Care in Busselton.
The town’s new intergenerational playgroup brings big benefits for young and old as they join in everything from imaginary tea parties to The Hokey-Pokey.
Many of the residents who take part in the playgroup are in their 90s, while the younger participants range from five months to five years old.
“It’s wonderful to watch the interaction between the generations, with friendships formed and smiles all round as they help each with craft, sing songs together and encourage each other,” says Roslyn McDonald, Lifestyle Coordinator at Baptistcare William Carey Court.
“Having the young ones around brightens everyone’s day and there’s an extra buzz of energy.
“The children bring fresh new ideas, prompting laughter, singing and moving to music,” Mrs McDonald said. “Residents are also using fine motor skills with the craft and employing different communication skills. They ask questions of the children and there are no expectations on either side.”
The new playgroup was formed in September after local members of Playgroup WA presented the idea to Baptistcare William Carey Court.
Each Wednesday a group of 14 children and their carers arrive armed with colourful leis, funny hats and scarves to ‘gift’ to residents before an enjoyable morning of singing, dancing, craft, cuddles and morning tea.
Participants include a number of residents from the dementia enrichment living wings at Baptistcare William Carey Court who attend because they love holding the babies.
Natascha Gacia, from Playgroup WA, said the benefits of the playgroup were wide-reaching, with happy chatter and smiles all round.
“Baptistcare William Carey Court has a reputation in Busselton for being the most community-orientated residential care home in our town,” said Mrs Gacia, a teacher who works with students with disabilities.
“When we approached them with the idea of a playgroup inspired by the ABC program, they were so welcoming and inclusive.”
Favourite activities include The Hokey-Pokey, complete with a colourful parachute, and singing nursery rhymes, including Old MacDonald Had A Farm when the children hand out miniature toy animals to the residents.
“Everyone gains from the increased activity in dancing and singing,” Mrs Gacia said.
The children also play hide-and-seek in the courtyard, which other residents can see and enjoy from their rooms. The youngsters’ chalk drawings on the pathways are left for everyone to admire.
“Young mums without family support also gain advice and love from experienced generations,” Mrs Gacia said.
“Some of the children who live on farms have struck up a close friendship with residents who are retired farmers. Almost none of the young participants have grandparents living close by; everyone benefits from the playgroup interactions.”
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contact us on 1300 660 640.