Mandurah: high school kids and Mercy Place residents striking up unlikely friendships


John Tonkin College students with teachers and Mercy Place residents.
John Tonkin College students with teachers and Mercy Place residents.

AGE is proving no barrier to the strong friendships that are blooming at Mercy Place Mandurah, thanks to a new partnership with students from John Tonkin College’s Education Support Centre (ESC).

Residents at the not-for-profit home have been striking up friendships with Year 11 and 12 students as part of an intergenerational partnership between the school and the aged care home, which aims to encourage companionship and connections between young and the old.

Students have been visiting Mercy Place Mandurah residents every week to write ‘life story books’ which detail the seniors’ lives and which will soon be used by staff to increase their knowledge of the background of individual residents.

Mercy Place service manager Christina Venables said the benefits of the partnership extended both ways, with the children and residents involved genuinely enjoying their time together and forming strong bonds.

“We’re delighted how well our intergenerational partnership with John Tonkin College’s ESC students has been received,” she said.

“Our residents love spending time with younger people and the life books that are being created help them to share stories about ‘the good old days’ and showcase their special hobbies, talents, and life lessons.”

“As well as residents being able to take a trip down memory lane, the partnership also provides an opportunity for students to get to know ‘someone else’s grandparents’, as many of their grandparents live interstate.

“The partnership is also a way for young people to learn from and respect the elderly in the wider community; our residents have certainly loved spending times with the students and many share some of the same interests, particularly reading and music.”