Journal Watch – November 2014

Title: An evaluative study of the benefits of participating in intergenerational playgroups in aged care for older people
Authors: Skropeta, M; Colvin, A and Sladen, S.
Journal: BMC Geriatrics 2014, 14:109

Intergenerational playgroups in aged care are limited and little is known about the perceptions of individuals who have participated in such programs. Most research is focused on intergenerational programs that involved two generations of people – young people and older people or young people and people with dementia reported the significant outcomes for each group of participants. In this study a number of generations participated in the intergenerational playgroup intervention that included older people, child carers who were parents, grandparents or nannies and children aged 0–4 years old. The objective of this study was to explore the benefits of participating in an intergenerational playgroup program IPP in an aged care facility.

This mixed methods quantitative and qualitative design explored the benefits of participating in an intergenerational playgroup program IPP in aged care settings. The intervention is an intergenerational playgroup program (IPP) offered in the aged care facility where intergenerational socialisation and interaction occurred between different generations. The SF36 and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) were used to collect pre-test post test data. The qualitative interpretive research approach used semi-structured interviews to develop the descriptive interpretation of the intergenerational playgroup experience. Interviews were conducted with aged care residents and child carers.  

The pre-test post-test results for the SF36 revealed a declining trend in one scale only energy/fatigue and no significant differences on the Geriatric Depression Scale GDS. The interview analyses revealed the following themes (1) intergenerational experiences, (2) two-way contributions, (3) friendships work, (4) personal growth, and (5) environmental considerations and nineteen subthemes were extracted to provide meanings.  

The IPP provided a successful innovative intergenerational program intervention where older people and people with dementia interacted and connected with a number of people from different generations. The IPP provided meaningful engagement for all participants considered important for self-esteem and the ability to participate fully in society. This allowed people to develop a sense of connectedness and friendships in a safe and secure environment. This increased the dignity of older people and people with dementia within the community and increased public awareness about the existing care and support services available to them.

Intergenerational playgroups; Friendship; Meaningful activity; Connectedness; Dignity; Dementia

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