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Residents enjoyed an afternoon full of fun at Star Cafe. Picture: Supplied

Cafe promotes intergenerational relationships and joy for residents

A cafe in an aged care residency has become a hub for fostering intergenerational communication with meaningful connections and fun for residents and families.

Star Cafe at Star of the Sea Aged Care Residence in Torquay, Victoria, aimed to provide a hot brew and intergenerational fun for residents and the wider community.

Cafe coordinator Cathy Rundle said seeing the cafe perform so well was "joyous".

“We’re so delighted the local community has embraced the cafe, which has become a meeting place for young families and visiting grandchildren and great-grandchildren of residents,” Ms Rundle said.

“The residents’ faces really light up when they’re around the little one. It’s beautiful to witness.”

Having witnessed the beautiful connections between the residents, staff, and visiting children, Ms Rundle and the aged care staff decided to host an afternoon activity full of playful activities and laughter.

Star of the Sea Aged Care lifestyle coordinator Jen Cotsopolous said the joyful and loud environment lifted everyone’s spirits.

“Residents reminisced about their childhoods and bonded with the children,” Ms Cotsopolous said.

“The emotional, physical, recreational, and mental benefits of the intergenerational activities were plain to see.”

Intergenerational programs have been reported to be psychologically and socially beneficial for everyone involved. 

These programs also created a strong opportunity to address ageism and challenge people’s assumptions about the contributions of people with dementia or other cognitive decline.

By 2050, an estimated one million people will be living with a dementia-related illness, an increase of 245 per cent since 2011.

Chair of the Australian Institute of Intergenerational Practice Professor Anneke Fitzgerald said it was important for intergenerational relationships to foster between the generations.

“Intergenerational practices offer many benefits, including improved social cohesion, better health and wellbeing outcomes, and enhanced educational opportunities,” Professor Fitzgerald said.

“The Sea Cafe is doing a great job to bridge the gap between the older and younger generation.”

Dr Jennifer Cartmel, a member of the Australian Institute of Intergenerational Practice, said the rise of intergenerational programs played a critical role in relationships and the well-being of the generations.

“Aged care residents may feel a bit removed from the general day-to-day activities of a community,” Dr Cartmelt told Aged Care Insite.

“Making these connections with the younger generation keeps them in touch, stimulated, less lonely, and less depressed.”

“Aged care facilities should promote these interactions as their residents will feel happier and healthier, and it will also help the younger generation to feel less stigma towards older people.”

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