Updated September 24, Four-year-old Hannah has developed a new habit recently. She'll walk right up to older people when she's out in public and ask, "how are you today? Hannah's grandparents live interstate and overseas, so she didn't have many opportunities to interact with older people — that is, until she was paired with aged-care resident Bevan on the show.
Ms Goode is an early childhood teacher and was asked to facilitate intergenerational activities between the older adults and children on the program. Older Australians provide a vital source of childcare for many Australian families. Apart from parental care, grandparents are one of the most common groups of carers for children up to 13 years of age who attend school. Through her involvement in the show, Ms Goode has seen how rewarding intergenerational relationships can be between young children and older people, and how easy they can be developed.
One of the key things grandparents can offer children is their undivided attention, compared to parents who may be doing a load of washing or watching TV while they're looking after their kids. When grandparents are with their grandchildren, Ms Goode said, "they stop everything they're doing for that quality time". Ms Goode suggests parents bring along a bag of items when introducing children to their grandparents.
Playing music and dancing can also break the ice between grandparents and kids because "you can be a bit silly". In Australia, one in four people aged over 65 live alone , while one in five experience social isolation. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that men over the age of 85 have the highest rate of suicide. Triggers for loneliness can include the loss of a partner, friends and loved ones, or the decline of one's physical and mental capacity.
A higher proportion of older Australians also live in aged care homes. The impact of this is well-documented: loneliness increases mortality and the uptake of behaviours like smoking and not exercising, and leads to poorer health outcomes such as high blood pressure. It's also important to take into account the physical limitations of grandparents and plan activities to match their abilities.
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Even if a child's grandparents don't live nearby, Ms Goode said they would be happy with just a phone call. Topics: parenting , family-and-children , community-and-society , older-people , children , childrenpreschoolers , childrentoddlers , australia.
First posted September 24, If you have inside knowledge of a topic in the news, contact the ABC. ABC teams share the story behind the story and insights into the making of digital, TV and radio content. Read about our editorial guiding principles and the standards ABC journalists and content makers follow. Learn more. Those who improve with age embrace the power of personal growth and personal achievement and begin to replace youth with wisdom, innocence with understanding, and lack of purpose with self-actualization.
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