Health and Wellness |

Creating long lasting friendships

June 9, 2020
grandmother reading a book with young child

Bringing together young and old to create new friendships and connections comes with a long list of benefits including boosting mental health in our ageing community. These connections stretch beyond existing grandparent relationships with bringing children and older members of the community together through intergenerational programs.

Our Clients have long been creating intergenerational connections through social groups and events such as Kawana Companions. And whilst programs like Kawana Companions have been paused due to coronavirus, Be staff and volunteers have been busy facilitating some exciting new avenues bringing young and old together through letter writing and sharing artwork.

Students from Narangba State School have been practising the art of letter writing to connect with Be clients that are currently isolated in their homes due to coronavirus. The activity has offered the students the opportunity to practise their hand writing and story telling skills whilst creating connections.

“Our clients were absolutely thrilled to receive their letters from the students. The effort and detail that these students have put into the letters have meant so much to our clients who are also looking forward to responding,” said Be Community Coordinator Jane Szach.

Research suggests that older adults with close intergenerational connections consistently report being less depressed, better physical health, improved brain functions and higher degrees of life satisfaction [1]. Where there can be a significant disconnect between young and old generations, improving these connections creates a unique opportunity to improve mental health and wellbeing in older people who are at a higher risk of loneliness and isolation.

The Kindergarten children from Green Beginnings Child Care Centre have also created artwork to share with their newfound “grandfriends” from Be. The educators asked the children to create art that would bring a smile to their new older friends whilst never having met face to face.

“The artwork project with the Kindy has brought immense delight to our clients, many who are very much missing their regular socialising events. Our hope is to create ongoing connections between our clients and the Kindy. And we hope when things start returning to normal we will be able to bring the clients and Kindy children together,” said Robyn Ellkojje, Be State Manager Community.

These kinds of programs aim to enrich the lives of both the children and elderly by creating a sense of value and purpose to forge close bonds through this shared experience.


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