Strong bonds form between pre-schoolers and people living with dementia

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Xavier Collyer with Dr Ken Digwood
15 Dec 2016

A partnership between a respite centre for people living with dementia and children from a Nedlands Early Childhood Centre has seen strong bonds form.

Four-year-olds from the Unicare Early Childhood Centre have spent every Tuesday morning with older people at Amana Living’s Club Catherine King in Osborne Park for the last three months. They’ve taken part in singing, drawing, story-time, bingo, crafts and even watched the Melbourne Cup together.   

As the children prepare to go to school next year, the bonds they’ve shared with the older people were honoured at a graduation ceremony that recognised the time they’ve spent at Club Catherine King.

Jennifer Crossing, Amana Living Day Club Coordinator, said, “It’s been fantastic to see the generations coming together and the relationships blossoming. Our clients have loved having the children here and their faces light up when they walk through the door each week.”

The program is based on a pilot that runs at Amana Living’s Club Kinross, and was initially inspired by a story on the Intergenerational Learning Centre in America where a nursing home had been combined with an Early Childhood Centre.

Leath Menner and Vanessa Scott from Unicare said it’s been a great program and one they want to continue in the New Year, even bigger and better. “The children have formed amazing bonds with some of the clients and the experience has taught them compassion, empathy, and respect for older people. We might have even inspired a few careers in aged care in the future!”

Stephanie Buckland, CEO of Amana Living, concluded: “Partnerships like this one are a great way for older people to remain connected to and engaged with their community. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for the generations to spend time together and learn from one another.”   

Amana Living's Club Catherine King exists to enable people living with dementia to spend time with others, and enjoy a program of activities that stimulate the mind, body and soul.