Ageless Play Group

Ageless Play Group

Ageless Play Group at Mercy Bethlehem Aged Care Facility

Ageless Play – Intergenerational Play – in whichever term you put it, interactions between the young and old in our community have so many benefits.

Community advocate and absolute saint Claire Turner has facilitated a 12 week ageless play group at Mercy Health Bethlehem in the hopes of bridging the gap between young and old and watching the benefits unfurl.

Thursday last week I visited Ageless Play Group – and let me tell you – this is something truly fantastic. I left with such a full heart and vowed to myself I would be back each week to volunteer for this program.

The facilities at Bethleham Aged Care are the perfect environment for this group. Residents are welcomed into a common area, set up with toys for the children and play with and seating for everyone who wants to come and join.
On the right day with the right weather the doors can be opened to create and indoor/outdoor space for the children and residents to utilise – there are veggie gardens, an aviary, chickens and beautiful murals for the children and residents to enjoy together.

Children and parents skip from seat to seat having a chat with everybody – it’ wonderful to see parents facilitating conversation between their children and the residents as a bit of an ice breaker.

The children encourage the residents outside to show them things – promoting movement, and activity.

I spoke with a few residents and carers to see what they had to say about the program-

Doreen, a resident of Mercy Bethleham said “I just love coming to this group to interact with the kids and also the adults – I just love having a chat! Some of the residents said they didn’t want to come, but once they did, they can’t wait for the next session!”

Another resident, Marie, said “The children teach some of the residents who may not have grandchildren a little bit of patience” (that comment gave me a little giggle!)

I also had a chat with Amanda who is in aged care training and was attending her first ageless play group, Amanda said “It’s just so wonderful to see the smiles on all the residents faces”

But now we need a call for action – as this is only a 12 week pilot program, Claire plans on handing over the reins to a parent or member of the group who can see the benefits of the program and to keep it running.

They also need volunteers! There are just not enough hands on deck to facilitate morning tea and management of the residents and the children – so we are calling out to all Bendigo residents to put their hands up and volunteer for one hour or so on a Thursday to help facilitate set up, morning tea and pack-down. If you would like more info on how to help message Claire at Natural Learners to express your interest – or join the private group Natural Learners Ageless Playgroup Bendigo to learn more.

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Claire Turner at Natural Learners for facilitating this program and everything else you do for our community. Shout out to Campbell for being an AMAZING volunteer and such a lovely young man.

I just have to say – I can’t wait for Thursday and my catch-up with Doreen ❤️❤️

For all the info on ageless play head to –…/ageless-play/

  • Blog Post by Emily Walker-O’Shea

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