Anglican Care residents have learned how to use new technology and the Internet safely as part of a program with local high school students.
The program, iTea, hosted by Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College in Newcastle involves year 11 information and digital technology students teaching residents valuable informational technology (IT) skills followed by an afternoon tea together catered by the school’s year 10 hospitality students.
The lesson and afternoon tea took place last week and involved 10 residents from Anglican Care’s Toronto facility in New South Wales.
Anglican Care Lifestyle Wellbeing and Diversity Manager Jane Meldrum said the program aimed to bring the generations together so they could learn from one another.
“It’s a great way for our residents to connect with the local community and the energy and joy that interactions with young people brings to them is priceless,” Ms Meldrum told Australian Ageing Agenda.
While some of the residents involved were reluctant to get involved with technology at first the guidance of the students made it fun and achievable, she said.
Residents learned how to use the Internet, Google Maps to view countries and homes they previously lived in and Skype to connect with family members.
In return, the residents provided valuable history lessons to the students, Ms Meldrum said.
“Students particularly enjoy hearing about the technology, or lack of, that residents experienced when they were growing up,” she said.
In addition to improving their IT skills, residents also benefited from the intergenerational conversations, Ms Meldrum said.
“It is also lovely for our residents to enjoy the company of younger people, particularly if they don’t have younger family members who visit,” Ms Meldrum said.
All the residents said they wanted to attend the next iTea session, she said.
This was the second iTea event hosted by the college, which hosts one session each school term.
Connecting generations through music
A new intergenerational program at Helping Hand Aged Care aims to assist residents to reconnect with their memories and improve their wellbeing through music.
University of Adelaide students and St Dominic’s Priory College year 9 students worked with 11 residents at Helping Hand’s North Adelaide facility over two weeks to create a CD featuring personalised playlists.
Helping Hand staff will play the music for residents to help prompt memories and bring about the health benefits associated with playing music.
University of Adelaide medical student Shanna Lee volunteered at Helping Hand in 2015 to explore the health benefits of music as part of her high school research project and is revisiting the topic with this project.
“I wanted to further investigate the role music can potentially play in the lives of older people with dementia, but for me it was also about connecting generations through music,” Ms Lee said.
Helping Hand resident Maida Groves, whose playlist includes songs by Bing Crosby, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and The Beatles, said she enjoyed working with the young students.
“We’re introducing them to music that they’ve never heard of, but that means so much to us,” Ms Groves said. “The music itself really does cross the generational divide, no matter what your age you’re able to bond over it and talk about the memories that come flooding back.”
Helping Hand Aged Care manager of student participation, research and Development Helen Loffler said the program helped residents unlock memories while providing them with another way to communicate with their loved ones and carers.
“This project is so beneficial to all ages as it shows what can be achieved when great ideas develop to harness the passion students bring to projects and the joy that our residents feel from this type of engagement with younger generations – It is so rewarding for everyone involved at Helping Hand,” Ms Loffler said.
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