Osborne Park: Unicare Childhood Centre and Club Catherine King forge strong bonds between young and old


Dr Ken Digwood (89) with Xavier Collyer.
Dr Ken Digwood (89) with Xavier Collyer.

YOUNG and old forged strong bonds thanks to a partnership between people living with dementia and pre-schoolers in Osborne Park.

For the last three months, four year olds from the Unicare Early Childhood Centre have spent every Tuesday morning with older people at Amana Living’s Club Catherine King in Osborne Park.

The program was initially inspired by a story on the Intergenerational Learning Centre in America where a nursing home had been combined with an Early Childhood Centre.

The groups celebrated the program on November 22 at a graduation ceremony, as the children will go to school next year.

Amana Living Day Club co-ordinator Jennifer Crossing said it was fantastic to see how the generations interacted.

“Our clients have loved having the children here and their faces light up when they walk through the door each week,” she said.

Leath Menner from Unicare said it had been a successful program, which she wanted to continue next year.

“The children have formed amazing bonds with some of the clients and the experience has taught them compassion, empathy and respect for older people,” she said.

“We might have even inspired a few careers in aged care in the future.”

Amana Living chief executive Stephanie Buckland said the partnership was a way for older people to feel connected and engaged with their community.

“It’s also a fantastic opportunity for the generations to spend time together and learn from one another,” she said.