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Section One Planning headingIMPLEMENTATION: HINTS
The co-ordinator must have an immense amount of energy and passion for the program to engage with participants, to involve participants, to motivate participants and to maintain enthusiasm for attendance.

You will need a clear idea of what types of activities the children may be doing and what age range of children may be visiting, to be able to give a good picture of what the program will involve to the residents.

There are often clues in a resident’s room – photos, ornaments, books and other personal items, which will provide you with a starting point in striking up a conversation.

Within the Resource Guide is a checklist for running an intergenerational session.

> MORE INFO:
The Resource Guide
: PDF Download

IMPLEMENTATION
This section provides you with information for running Intergenerational activity sessions.
Co-ordinators Role

The co-ordinator of the Intergenerational Program has a number of jobs to balance.

These jobs include:

  • managing the intergenerational project;
  • providing training for staff and participants;
  • organising time and location of sessions;
  • engaging the elderly and the children in the program;
  • co-ordinating the movements of participants from the two facilities;
  • liaising with managers;
  • disseminating information;
  • designing and managing intergenerational session activities;
  • arranging resources, and;
  • reviewing and evaluating sessions.

The role of the coordinator is complex. The key to successful co-ordinating is to act as a conduit between the children and the elderly to assist them to develop relationships with one another. As co-ordinator, you need to ensure that a session is fully resourced to engage both the children and the elderly.  You need to be observant, monitor the actions of the participants and support and encourage the interactions as they emerge.

Our research found a very effective way to run a session. Provide a number of different "stations" for activities that cover a variety of interests - quite activities (reading), physical activities (balloon chasing, ball tossing), manipulative activities (jigsaws, blocks), creative activities (pasting, cutting, drawing) and imaginative activities (tea sets, doctors kits). The children move amongst these activities depending on their interest. The elderly watch and respond to the children and in turn, the activities stimulate them.

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Engaging the Elderly
When you approach the residents as co-ordinator, remember that you are a new person in their life and their routine. Personalise your initial contact by identifying what interests them. There are often clues in a resident’s room – photos, pictures on the wall, ornaments, books and other personal items which gives you with a starting point for striking up a conversation.
Promoting the Program

Often people feel more comfortable attending an Intergenerational Program session if they know what to expect. Let the elderly know
• Who the children are, their ages and the activities they like.
• What happens in the session they can have as little or as much interaction as suits them.  Some residents come just to watch. Then, over time, they develop more confidence and become more interactive with the children.
• You will support them and encourage the children to join in with them with appropriate activities.
if possible, they may visit to the Child Care Centre to gain an understanding of the child's environment.
• Some of the highlights of participating through photos or videos, for example.

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Engaing the children
It is important for the children participating in the Intergenerational Program to be given information about what it will involve.  This information will include things like where it will be located, who will be attending, what will happen in the session, behaviour that is expected, what the needs of the elderly are and what restrictions the elderly may have.
Getting to know the Co-ordinator

If you are the co-ordinator, the children need to feel comfortable with you as you are the person who will usually be present during the sessions.

Spend time meeting the children at the Child Care Centre, learn their names, and find out what interests them and what they like doing.

Getting to know the environment
Taking the children for a walk around the Aged Care Facility helps them understand where they will be going, what the room for their session is like and what type of behaviour is expected when visiting the Aged Care facility.
Introduction of children to elders

It is important to prepare the children for their first meeting with the elderly residents.

They may see people in wheelchairs or using walkers, hearing aids and glasses.

Help the children to know that the elderly may have physical restrictions and discuss what they might be.

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Selective recruitment
Some research literature suggests that competent, active older people participate alongside older people who have particular restrictions. Our concern was not to provide or reinforce a negative stereotype of aging amongst the children. In our research, we had older people with various capacities participate in our sessions.

In the sessions for high care residents, our participants were restricted both physically and cognitively. We found that the children readily accepted the elders if the co-ordinator and the carers interacted as they would with any other person. The children were very accepting. Negative stereotypes are only reinforced when adults are not able to cope with differences.

Basic resources needed
There is a wish list of resources, prices and suppliers available in The Resouce Guide. This is by no means exhaustive. The list is included to provide ideas and an easy reference. Not all items are required. > MORE INFO: A list of some basic things that you may use.
Intergenerational room
Having a room dedicated to the Intergenerational Program is ideal. This way the room can be set up with the appropriate furniture, seating, tables and storage. The children and the elderly become familiar with where the program is located, leading to feelings of comfort and security. .
> MORE INFO: A list of things to consider.

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How will you know what is succeeding?
It may take a considerable amount of time to gain the trust and confidence of the elderly and the child carers involved. Allow time for this to occur. Based on our experience approximately 15% of the Low Care population will attend an activity at any one time. The High Care population attendance at activities is higher at approximately 30% of the resident population.
Attendance rate is not necessarily an indicator of the success of an effective program, many other factors contribute towards the program being successful.
© 2012. Based on a formative evaluation of an Intergenerational Care Program conducted by St Michael's Collegiate and OneCare Limited
in conjunction with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation