Evaluation of an Intergenerational Playgroup in a Residential Aged Care Facility – National Ageing Research Institute April 2012

In 2012, the National Ageing Research Institute undertook an evaluation of an intergenerational playgroup in a residential aged care facility near Geelong. The project received funding from the Victorian Government Aged Care Branch's Count Us In! social inclusion initiative.

The project sought to establish and evaluate a playgroup in an aged care facility that promoted greater intergenerational understanding and facilitated meaningful individualised social inclusion for people living in residential aged care and for members of the playgroup.

Methods

The project was undertaken at Percy Baxter Lodges in the regional centre of Geelong.

The evaluation included extensive information gathering including a literature review, resident, parent and staff surveys and consultation with residents, playgroup facilitator and lifestyle officer.

The findings of the evaluation were used to provide recommendations both to the groups involved in the playgroups at Percy Baxter Lodges and for any bodies interested in establishing a playgroups in an aged care facility,

A resource booklet, Playgroups in Aged Care Facilities was also published from the project findings, which outlined any lessons learnt about the practicalities and implementation issues related to establishing a similar program.

Findings

The project was found to deliver social and community benefits to residents, families and the facility as a whole. All residents were keen to see the playgroup continue into the future.

Overall, playgroups participants benefitted through:

  • increased enjoyment and intergenerational interactions
  • reflection and reminiscence of childhood and parenting
  • changes in attitudes/expectations and perceptions of different generations and aged care facilities.

The project was roundly supported by staff, residents and parents:

"The intergenerational program has moved the whole facility and they all look forward to the children coming. A breath of fresh young air." – staff comment

"It's the nicest thing that could happen, thank you to whoever had the brainwave, hope it will keep going." – resident comment

"We have been so lucky to have been involved with Percy House and the residents. We have met so many new friends. Every week has been wonderful and fun. It would be wonderful to keep it going." – parent comment

Recommendations

At the conclusion of the study, the evaluation recommended that the playgroup at Percy Baxter Lodges be continued with formalised systems to ensure effective communication and training. The evaluation also suggested further investigation of the transition from supported to community playgroup.

For organisations interested in running a playgroup in an aged care facility, the evaluation recommended:

  • Consideration of establishing a resident playgroup committee
  • Ensuring the provision of appropriate enclosed space with an outdoors area and storage available nearby
  • Commencing with a facilitator-led playgroup model to ensure effective communication about all aspects of the group particularly related to safety.
  • That participants should be allowed to direct interactions and that change should be expected over time
  • Appropriate training is made available for all staff involved in the playgroup including modules in aged care and early childhood development.

Download Evaluation of an intergenerational playgroup (PDF, 990KB) for more information.

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