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An intergenerational playgroup trial has harnessed the benefits of occupational therapy to support some of AnglicaresA’s oldest as well as youngest customers.

Occupational Therapy graduates Alicia and Hannah created the playgroup as part of their new graduate program with AnglicareSA, bringing together aged care customers and young children from the Daphne Street Early Learning Centre.

With a mixture of arts and craft, music and song, the three trial sessions held at the Prospect Library at the end of the year have the potential to become a more broader playgroup experience following a review.

“In the sessions we’ve designed a lot of crafty activities,” Alicia explains. “Activities that both the older adults and young children can participate in and help each other with and work together on.

“One of the activities was partnering up an older person and young child and they drew portraits of each other.

“They helped each other out with their drawings and then they swapped at the end they presented to each other in the end.”

When it comes down it to it the intergenerational playgroups are a lot of fun, however these types of interactions and sessions deliver much more benefits than a few smiles and a bit of laughter.

“There’s been lots of studies in Australia which we have been reading as part of this project and the benefits of this playgroup in terms of older adults can be seen in a social connection which means relationships are improving.

“Just getting that sense of like a ‘roll back’ because I know some older adults, one of the concerns could be loneliness particularly during COVID and maybe not seeing family as much.”

Occupational Therapy graduates Alicia and Hannah created the playgroup as part of their new graduate program with AnglicareSA.

While that social connectedness is a significant and positive factor for older people, it is also an effective learning and development tool for children.

Some of the benefits identified in previous studies include learning and communication skills, as well as language development and following instructions

“Just learning about older generations and their life and how to communicate which there have been some systematic reviews and really good studies showing the benefits of that.”

For playgroup participant Alice, it was an opportunity to work alongside her young friend Patrick, decorating and making musical instruments, laughing that she’ll take them back to share with her regular choir friends.

“This is the first time I’ve done something like this,” Alice says. “I’m normally quite busy out and about with things like my choir, but I’m glad I came because children are great.

“I have grandkids and you just let them come to you on their terms and in their own time, but you can always get along with them.”

With the trial sessions completed, Alicia says an evaluation of the playgroup project results will take place with a final report bringing it all together.

“And in terms of feasibility for AnglicareSA moving forward, hopefully it will be able to foster this pilot project, move it forward and continue it on into the future as well.”

Occupational therapy is just one of a range of allied health services we offer as well as physiotherapy, podiatry, exercise physiology and massage.

For more information about our Health and Wellness Services, click here.