A win-win in grand-friending

One year after the opening of The Herd Intergenerational Learning Centre at Uniting AgeWell Andrew Ker Care Community, residents Rose and Barry Smith are only too happy to express their joy at the opportunity to be grand-friends.

The couple are also proud to recount the positive impact the co-located centre has made to the mental health and wellbeing of many residents at the community.

The Herd ILC was officially opened in March 2023. The first intergenerational learning centre in Australia to operate under the same roof as an aged care community, The Herd ILC caters for 66 children aged from six weeks to four years old.

Research indicates intergenerational care can combat isolation and loneliness, and improve the quality of life of aged care residents. Children may also benefit, developing higher levels of empathy and social acceptance.

The Lifestyle Team at Andrew Kerr Care Community and The Herd ILC work together to organise weekly activities between residents and children.

The unique program offers a strengthened sense of community and companionship across both generations with regular story times, bingo, and shared celebrations.

Of course - the first birthday of The Herd ILC was no exception!
Rose and Barry Smith attended the recent celebrations with fellow grad-friends and children from The Herd ILC.

The Autumn morning sunshine provided a fitting backdrop for the lively event with bubbles, music and lots of cake. The couple were all smiles as they donned party hats and got creative with a little face painting.

“It’s breaking their usual routine. That’s why they like it,” Rose smiles as she reflects on her time spent with the toddlers, “the children are bright and happy.”

Rose can already see the benefits The Herd ILC at Andrew Kerr Care Community, noting many residents are now spending less time by themselves or in their room, and more time joining in activities such as Bingo and reading their favourite stories to the children.

The program is particularly beneficial to residents who live at a distance from their family or have no living family members. Rose notes, they now enjoy the regular company from the children despite distance from their own grandchildren.

And this applies to the children from The Herd ILC too. Rose found that some children have not had the opportunity to spend time with older people in their own family. The intergenerational program has offered them the opportunity to spend time with and understand a different generation,

Learn more about life at our Andrew Kerr Care Community here.