Fostering intergenerational connections
Bethanie Geneff Aged Care Home has fostered intergenerational connectedness through volunteering opportunities for school-aged students.
14-year-old Lucy Chandler wanted to do something different during her school holidays and started looking at volunteering opportunities for teenagers. That’s when she came across the opportunity to volunteer at Bethanie Geneff Aged Care Home.
“I’m not really into sports and I was looking online at Seek Volunteer and this opportunity popped up and I thought ‘this is the kind of thing I wanted to do’,” Lucy said.
“I wanted to volunteer at Bethanie because sometimes I help my grandma out at the op shop and it’s a lot of fun and I thought this would be a fun thing to try,” she said.
The Methodist Ladies College (MLC) student helped with a variety of activities during her month-long volunteering stint.
“Before Christmas I was wrapping presents for the residents and writing cards,” Lucy said.
“I was also helping serve food at Christmas lunch and after Christmas I did whatever they needed me to do like walking people to the hall.”
Lucy said her favourite part was connecting with the residents and making friends. That’s when she came across fellow MLC Collegian, Enid, who was also in the same House as Lucy when she was her age.
“I asked Enid what House she was in when she was at MLC and she said Troy, which is the same House I’m in,” Lucy said.
Lucy’s connection with Enid, now 100 years old, encouraged her to investigate the MLC archives. That’s when she came across a poem that Enid wrote in school in 1935, titled ‘Sunset’.
“I asked her what her maiden name was and then I found an online archive of where all the collegians were,” Lucy said.
Bethanie Geneff Aged Care Home Facility Manager, Joanne Douglas, said she was delighted to have a teenager volunteer at an aged care home in their spare time.
“Lucy has been a ray of sunshine and has been a huge help around the facility, helping out wherever she could and building relationships with the residents who can sometimes feel lonely and socially isolated,” Jo said.
“We’ve seen a change in atmosphere and this kind of connection between the old and young improves the overall wellbeing for everyone.”
Experiences like this further enhance Bethanie’s Vision to enrich the ageing experience of over one million Australians by 2030.