On for Young and Old!

Child’s play brings joy to Ballarat Aged Care residents

We have all heard the saying ‘act your age,’ and may have even had it said to us once or twice, but where is the fun in that? Sometimes all we really need to do is reconnect to the things we loved as children, when we were carefree without responsibilities, when the simplest things brought us the most joy, and when life revolved around play.

Residents at Ballarat Aged Care have been doing exactly this thanks to a new schools program that has seen students from local primary and secondary schools visiting aged care homes across the city.

At Hailey House in Ballarat North, residents have enjoyed regular visits from Midlands Kindergarten and St Columba’s Primary School. Beautiful friendships have formed between the residents and the children, who enjoy a variety of activities together, such as playing cards and games, watering the gardens, and playing outside.

Jan, who has lived at Hailey House for five years, said she gets so much pleasure from watching the children play, and is always amazed at how clever they are.

“The kinder kids do puzzles, construction blocks, paintings, and signing sessions for us. I always make sure I have a game of UNO with the children, and our morning tea together is very special.”

“The grade 3-6 students from St Columba’s bring their computers and I like watching them work and talk about their assignments. The teachers and students have such a friendly rapport.”

“I really enjoy catching up with the students and hearing about their hopes and dreams. It makes me feel so happy and young again. The sessions are always loud and busy but I wouldn’t swap the time for anything! We are so lucky to have the program at Hailey House,” she said.

Hailey House manager, Linda Newby said there has been a lot of research into the benefits of connecting young people to older members of the community.

“The schools program is a fantastic addition to our lifestyle program, and is one of the most anticipated activities among the residents,” Linda said.

“It helps to keep residents connected to the community, instills feelings of value and purpose, and gives them an opportunity to engage with a younger generation. Many of our residents do not have regular visits from young children, so the schools program provides them with an opportunity to talk with the children and play games they may not otherwise play. They love sharing stories of their own childhood with the children, and learning about what life is like for the children of today.”

“The children also get a lot from the program. They learn a lot from the residents and love the undivided attention they receive. It is beautiful to see the friendships blossom and both groups learning from each other,” she said.

Ballarat Aged Care is part of Ballarat Health Services and has provided professional, quality aged care services to the Ballarat and Grampians region for over 150 years. It offers 10 aged care homes throughout the region, catering to residential aged care, dementia and cognitive impairment care, psychogeriatric care, respite, and in home care. Each home offers a diverse lifestyle program, with activities ranging from craft, games and music, to guest visitors and group outings.

To speak to one of the admissions staff, please visit the Ballarat Aged Care office at 907 Sturt Street Ballarat, or call 5320 3620.

For further information please visit www.ballaratagedcare.org.au