About 1.6 million folks over the age of 65 live alone in Australia, with many experiencing social isolation and loneliness.
Whereas it is an upsetting statistic, there is a new “grandfriends” program in Queensland which has been created to assist cut back these numbers by giving seniors the chance to type particular bonds with some very pleasant four-year-olds, within the identify of higher psychological well being.
“It is really modified my life,” grandfriend Ron informed A Present Affair.
Each Thursday, a small group of aged Queenslanders go to the Prince Charles Hospital Early Training Centre. After they do, each face lights up.
Grandfriend Ron stated he loves interacting with the children and watching them get inventive.
“I simply stay up for it. It provides me such a buzz,” he stated.
Robyn and her husband stated each go to is totally different.
“The kids like it and so they love becoming a member of in,” she stated.
“It is a very particular factor to do, so principally it will get me into extra actions and issues I actually get pleasure from.
“It provides me one thing to stay up for.”
Singing and taking part in devices is simply one of many many actions they do collectively.
Others embrace studying, storytelling, flower arranging, colouring in, role-playing, cooking and extra.
“If I can sit with the children and educate them one factor, it simply helps them of their every day life … sooner or later,” grandfriend Jan stated.
Jan at all times needed to be a kindergarten trainer however by no means had the chance when she was youthful.
The 75-year-old stated her time with the kids is the spotlight of her week.
“I haven’t got any grandchildren and I simply suppose it’s nice after they come up and offer you a hug,” she stated.
Whereas it is apparent by the kids’s chats, smiles and hugs that they get a lot out of this system too, A Present Affair spoke to folks to seek out out simply how a lot grandfriends imply to their youngsters.
Mum Kristine Dous stated it has been nice for her daughter Clara, particularly given she would not have grandparents in Brisbane.
“I believe Clara’s constructed confidence, having these fill-in grandparents,” Dous stated.
Senior social employee Marion Fuller is on the Older Individuals Psychological Well being workforce at Metro North Well being and Hospital Service.
She defined that older adults with psychological well being points are extra weak to being lonely, however the thought of this system is to assist seniors by socially connecting them with kindergarten-aged kids.
“This has simply gone past my wildest goals,” Fuller stated.
“I’ve had folks telephone up from one other hospital to say, ‘how can we … develop it as nicely’?”
Given its present success, it is hoped the grandfriends program will increase throughout the centre.
The grandfriends program is a part of the Widespread Good initiative on the Prince Charles Hospital Basis to assist folks reside more healthy for longer.
The Widespread Good normal supervisor of selling and memberships, Chloe Nguyen, stated “If we will get folks shifting, if we will present that sense of function, they will be up” and “they’ll be energetic out locally”.
“Which goes to cut back the probability of them needing to return to hospital for numerous parts, whether or not that is damage or sickness,” Nguyen defined.
Nguyen stated the Prince Charles Hospital Early Training Centre presently has over 10 rooms.
“So there’s a lot alternative to increase not solely right here, however proper all through south-east Queensland to different kindergarten centres as nicely,” she stated.
For extra data on The Widespread Good, go to right here.
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