Timeless advice from some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents is helping transform new parents’ lives through an initiative aimed at connecting the very young and old in the region.
As a generation who have raised their children, residents at Ozcare’s Ozanam Villa Burleigh Heads Aged Care Facility, are calmly giving back through a new `intergenerational nurture and play’ program.
“It is a very intimate gathering and there is a lot of nurturing along with parenting pearls of wisdom along the way, but the impact for residents are immediate – they feel they are making a contribution to the community,” Ozcare’s Diversional Therapist Michele Roche said.
“For those people living with dementia and experiencing memory loss, it is very significant to engage in real discussions around parenting because it brings back memories and helps to slow the progress of their illness.”
“Multicultural connections are also being made within the group as a resident has started to sing a lullaby in her native German.
“The children are receiving undivided attention from the older generation, while parents are learning from them – everyone leaves on Cloud Nine.”
Parent Coordinator Renee Robertson said parents had thought the initiative would be their chance to give back but felt overwhelmed by the positive impacts of each visit on their own emotional wellbeing.
“We completely under-estimated how much we get back in return,” Ms Robertson said.
“Everyone is benefiting from mums, tots, bubs and residents and it is about having purpose and meaning for everyone and reducing loneliness because parenting can also feel lonely at times.
“Having the residents dote over their babies is really special for some of the mums because there are no grandparents around in their life.
“I can see the memories coming back for residents and can just pat my knee and it jogs a memory for them and they will start singing a lullaby.
“We get emotional when we leave and go to a coffee shop and talk because having this opportunity to connect the older and younger generations is just amazing.”