Developing Intergenerational Learning Programs in Australia

By: Xanthe Golenko   Janna Anneke Fitzgerald   Katrina Radford   Jennifer Cartmel   Nerina Vecchio   Neil Harris  

In response to predicted social and economic impact of the aging population and growing disconnect between generations, the World Health Organisation is advocating a global healthy aging agenda. Intergenerational programs directly address many of the key areas including social participation, respect and social inclusion, and life-long learning; by bringing people together in purposeful, beneficial activities that build on the positive resources that different generations have to offer each other and those around them. This paper presents research on a project that developed, implemented, and evaluated an intergenerational learning program (ILP) for pre-school aged children and elders attending care services across four research sites in Qld and NSW, Australia. The research examined two models of care (co-location and visitation), and focused on four key areas: 1) development of an evidence-based ILP; 2) impact on elders and children; 3) workforce; and 4) socio-economic implications. Preliminary findings indicate that ILPs can enhance engagement which has a positive impact on the sense of well-being among the elderly, and improve confidence and communication skills in children. Findings also indicate a positive impact on participating organisations by broadening their perspectives on new types of services which benefit their clients. The aged care and childcare workforce were generally hesitant coming in to the program, however upon completion, felt more positive and that an intergenerational practice qualification with appropriate training should be pursued. Early indications of the economic evaluation suggest minimal financial impact on organisations and opportunities for cost savings through shared and more efficient use of resources.

Social Program, Education&Cognition, Community Support, Healthy Aging, Intergenerational Learning
Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Xanthe Golenko

Project Manager, Intergenerational Care Project, Sessional Lecturer and Tutor for Griffith Business School, Department of International Business and Asian Studies, Griffith University

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Prof. Janna Anneke Fitzgerald

Griffith University

Dr. Katrina Radford

Griffith University

Dr. Jennifer Cartmel

Griffith University

Dr Jennifer Cartmel's area of expertise covers Work Integrated Learning, Outside hours school care the preparation of practitioners for children's services, policy, curriculum and practice in children's services and early childhood education and care. Dr Cartmel currently teaches in the care and education of 6-12 year old children and Advocacy in Children's Services. Dr Cartmel also manages undergraduate and postgraduate field education

Dr. Nerina Vecchio

Senior Lecturer, Accounting Finance and Economics, Griffith University , Australia
Queensland , Australia

Dr Nerina Vecchiois interested in how public and private organisations can better serve the health and care needs of individuals and their care-givers in the community. Dr Vecchio's other research interests inter-relates with this theme and includes: home health care services; Primary Health Networks; respite care; mental health and workforce productivity; family care-giver's choice of services and labour market decisons. 

Dr. Neil Harris

Griffith University