The simple idea of connecting local high school students with aged care residents is serving to fight the generation gap while sending a powerful message to the aged care industry at the same time.
The trial of a unique intergenerational initiative based on connecting local high school students with the elderly residents of Avondale Lifestyle Community Residential Aged Care facilities has given both student and elderly participants alike the opportunity to develop new bonds and perceptions with outstanding results. Not least of which has been a surprise win of a highly contested national award for the program.
Through a living classroom partnership with Avondale Lifestyle Community, students benefit enormously in their technology course outcomes, according to Avondale High School Head of Technology, Nigel Lynn.
Following site visits to the aged care facility and individual consultations with residents, students design and create individual items to gift their ‘client’ in a real life approach to learning.
“As students engage with residents from design concept through to production they receive an important lesson in making incremental improvements in design and implementation strategy along the way,” Nigel said. “They also receive enormous satisfaction in seeing the joy of gifting their final product.”
Program coordinator and Avondale Lifestyle Community Diversional Therapist, Lindl Webster, says the change in residents throughout the program is remarkable. All experience a new fullness of life, self-esteem and an increased sense of validation, she says.
“Residents find true joy in the interaction, in conversations with the students and in the final gift itself,” Lindl said.
In recognising the living classroom initiative as an exemplar for all aged care services, the federal Australian Aged Care Quality Agency awarded Adventist Senior Living the top award in its nationally coveted Better Practice Awards, Consumer Directed Care and Re-ablement category.
Image | Greg Piper MP witnesses Adventist Senior Living CEO David Knight and Diversional Therapist Lindl Webster receive Australian Aged Care Quality Agency Better Practice Award from the Agency’s Kirsten Peddie
Adventist Senior Living serves the needs of older Australians in four locations across northern New South Wales.
Our Lifestyle Communities can be found near the southern shores of Lake Macquarie, at Wyee Point and Cooranbong, within the Newcastle region at Jewells, and on the mid north coast hinterland at Alstonville.