Retirees without grandchildren are among those benefiting from the power of intergenerational activity at a new ‘mums, bubs and oldies’ playgroup concept at a western Sydney housing project.
Stockland has launched the playgroup at its 198-hectare, 4,000-lot Elara community at Marsden Park. The Elara community includes a specific 114-dwelling neighbourhood (known as Aspire) set aside for seniors housing.
Around 70 participants, including residents from the Aspire neighbourhood, and Elara mums and children, take part in the fortnightly playgroup sessions.
Amanda Schultz, playgroup organiser and resident at Elara, said that she was thrilled when she found out that residents from the Aspire neighbourhood - set aside for people aged over 55 - would be joining their mums and bubs group.
“It just makes sense to have them join – we all live in the same community,” Ms Schultz said.
“I think it really benefits everyone involved to have such a range of age in participants. I know for my kids, I love that my eldest is able to chat with older residents who may have interesting life stories or new insights on the world.
“For the retirees, it’s a chance to socialise with some children and babies which they might not often get a chance to do.
“I know one of the gentlemen mentioned that he and his wife don’t have any grandkids yet, and another said their grandkids live far away, so I think coming to the playgroup kind of helps fill that void, even if it’s just for a while.”
Intergenerational activity in retirement facilities has been in the news since the widely celebrated airing of Old People’s Home for Four-Year-Olds on the ABC last year.
A report to be released this year will find that intergenerational activity helps maintain the quality of life of older Australians who require aged care support. The research recommends that the best results can be obtained when child care and aged care facilities are co-located.
Lorraine and Raymond Wheeler, residents at Stockland’s over-55’s community Aspire at Elara, said: “I love spending time with the kids but also that I’m able to sit down and have a chat with some of the mums.”
“I was able to meet some new friends that live nearby and have conversations with people who are at a different stage of life entirely. It’s actually very refreshing.”
Calum Ross, Regional Development Manager for NSW & ACT, Stockland, said: “There are many proven benefits to bringing young people and seniors together.”
“Socialisation of this kind has a positive impact on not only general wellbeing, including one’s mental and physical health, but also helps to break down feelings of isolation and depression.”
“That’s really what we’re all about at Stockland. We want to create highly liveable and connected communities that offer our residents the option to be as social and active as they choose.”
Stockland’s Aspire at Elara is a purpose-built neighbourhood designed for people over 55, featuring modern, low-maintenance homes, surrounded by high quality community facilities.
Unlike traditional retirement living, the community is structured under community title, with all costs paid upfront, meaning residents retain all capital gains and complete ownership of their home and land.