Stephanie Green and Kate Howson from Swansea University delivered a workshop on Intergenerational Care in Care Homes in August this year. The session provided practitioners with the opportunity to learn more about intergenerational care and think about how they could overcome the potential challenges of supporting intergenerational activity in care homes.
Stephanie began the workshop by providing an overview of intergenerational care and the potential benefits. Intergenerational care was identified as being particularly important in the UK as we have one of the most segregated societies by age. The approach aims to provide purposeful, mutually beneficial activities that can enable generations to connect and learn from each other.
Most of the evidence on intergenerational care to date is anecdotal and further research is needed to explore what makes programmes effective for older adults, children and young people, staff and loved ones. It is also important to understand what makes a programme sustainable.
In groups, attendees discussed what their key considerations would be when planning and setting up intergenerational activity in a care home. Considerations included:
Staff training and support needs;
Carefully choosing activities and offering a tailored approach that appeals to residents and children;
Identifying a suitable environment;
Travel between the school and care home; and
In the second half of the workshop, Kate presented the aims and methods of her PhD project, as well as her initials reflections and messages for practice. The project aims to explore the impact of intergenerational care in South Wales. Kate is using a mixed methods approach to compare the outcomes of intergenerational programmes that are being delivered in care homes for at least six weeks with non-intergenerational programmes. The primary outcome measure for older adults is the effect that the programmes have on their quality of life.
Attendees discussed in groups how they would overcome the challenges that they had identified earlier in the workshop. Ideas and practical solutions were then shared, for example: