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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.

Kathryn Munro is the familiar and friendly voice at the other end of the phone line for a number of AnglicareSA’s Community Aged Care Customers.

A retired teacher who also spent some time working in aged care, Kathryn is part of the Volunteer Phone Support Program working with AnglicareSA customers to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation through regular weekly phone calls.

“The calls can be two minutes, five minutes, 25, I even had one that was 50 minutes,” Kathryn smiles.

“It’s just a general conversation where I start by asking how the week has been and then I take my cues from there as to what they want to talk about.

“One lady has her pet dog who’s very important to her and we talk about him, others want to talk about their family, but they know they can be up-front, and I can talk about anything they want to, anything at all.”

The calls, made from AnglicareSA’s Oaklands Park office each Thursday, are an important human connection for customers who are receiving other Community Aged Care supports in their own home.

For Kathryn it has been fulfilling to be “part of something wonderful” supporting others and helping improve quality of life by being there and by being someone they know they will regularly hear from.

“I found AnglicareSA online and looked into the organisation to see what they do and their values, and I thought ‘yes, I’d like to be a part of that organisation’.

“I like to talk; I’ve had a number of roles jobs working with people and that’s what I like best to do.

“It’s a very rewarding role. I often receive encouragement from the customers telling me how much these opportunities to talk are needed and I always get a warm ‘Thank you’ at the end of every phone call.”

It’s not just the critically important phone calls to support customers that Kathryn has committed her time to, she also spends one of her two days per week supporting AnglicareSA with admin and has recently become involved in making phone calls as part a customer satisfaction survey. 

Each year, more than 300 AnglicareSA volunteers support a wide range of services that include spending time with aged care residents, packing food and clothing parcels for those in need, mentoring kids who’ve lost a loved one, and delivering new clothing to jobseekers for their job interviews.

AnglicareSA is always looking for new volunteers, particularly allied health students and older, time-rich South Australians as we try to keep up with growing demand across our aged care and emergency assistance services.

Our volunteers meet some great people, learn new skills, and often find that giving back to the community returns them the favour of lifelong friendships, social connection and a well-developed CV.

We have lots of great volunteering opportunities across all our services. If you’re keen to help us help others, visit or email [email protected]