Mercy Place Parkville Celebrates Intergenerational Friendships

on the Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Friendship has no boundaries especially not age at Mercy Place Parkville in Melbourne. Residents and children from a local early learning centre have formed strong bonds by simply spending time together.

The intergenerational program bridges the divide between the generations through play activities including reading stories, colouring-in and playing with toys.

Now in its second year, the weekly group has been connecting residents with 15 children aged between three and five from the Seahorse Room, part of The Royal Children’s Hospital Early Learning Centre.

Mercy Place Parkville Service Manager Maryann McCusker said the intergenerational activity was a highlight for the residents each week, as many had formed friendships with the children over the years.

“The children bring so much joy to our home,” Ms McCusker said. “It’s wonderful to see residents who are sometimes reserved, thoroughly enjoying themselves, dancing and reading with the children.

“Intergenerational programs benefit everyone involved — enhancing language skills and supporting emotional, social and cognitive abilities in children, while also promoting positivity and general health in residents,” Ms McCusker said.

“We’ve found these initiatives promote respect and social inclusion. The children provide opportunities for residents to connect with younger members of the community and reflect on their own family,” Ms McCusker said.

Resident Hank Span has found this to be the case, enjoying all intergenerational programs available at the home since he moved in a year ago.

“I really love when the children visit my home, it’s so special. The program reminds me of my children and it even makes me think of my childhood,” Mr Span said.

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