5 Reasons Your Care Home Should Adopt an Intergenerational Approach

Stephen Burke, Director, United for All Ages

Thousands
of care homes are now linking with local nurseries and primary schools.
Intuitively they recognise the benefits for older people and children.
Having seen media coverage, they think it’s the right thing to do. Other
care homes have taken it a step further and are sharing their site with
a nursery, childminder or parent and toddler group.

There are five very good reasons for all care homes to build on these links.

  • Tackling
    age segregation: mixing matters in creating meaningful connections
    between people of different ages; it can help build a real understanding
    of the social and economic issues that other generations face at a time
    when Britain is one of the most age segregated countries in the world;
    bringing older and younger people together can create stronger
    communities, uniting rather than dividing our society.
  • Improving
    quality of life: older residents experience more activities, less
    isolation and loneliness, and better physical and mental health;
    children experience enhanced early learning and social development,
    giving them confidence; parents can mix with people of all ages and work
    knowing their children have good childcare; relatives and families of
    older people benefit from their increased interaction and better health;
    all round these benefits improve the quality of life of everyone
    involved.
  • Creating a USP: providers of
    eldercare linking with childcare have a USP, reduced costs and happier
    clients; those involved can share experiences, activities, learning and
    mutual understanding; the wider community has a centre for all ages they
    can use and share locally; marketing across generations can reach
    different parts of the same family whose care needs will change over
    time from childcare to eldercare; pioneers of co-located care have
    created a special offer or USP to families needing care.
  • Saving
    costs, supporting staff: for care providers, the economic benefits of
    co-location include sharing back office costs from maintenance and
    catering to IT and HR to training and management; sharing skills and
    learning of staff with opportunities to grow and develop staff; boosting
    recruitment and retention of staff: one of the biggest issues for many
    providers, co-location provides opportunities for staff to undertake new
    challenges in different settings; staff of both providers have more
    interesting opportunities as well as access to childcare support if they
    need it.
  • Growing demand – our ageing
    population means a growing demand for care which will help businesses
    become more sustainable, while demand for childcare grows as more
    parents work; providing community facilities as a co-located or shared
    site will become a magnet at the centre of communities and be in demand
    from others looking for space, activities etc

These
benefits have been realised by care providers in other countries – from
the USA, Canada and Australia to Japan, Singapore and elsewhere in
Europe. The UK is catching up, and more evaluation of these benefits is
being undertaken with the growing number of care-home nurseries and
other similar schemes emerging in the UK.

More information can be found at: www.unitedforallages.com

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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