Frank Bennet shares a joke with a playgroup participant.
Frank Bennet shares a joke with a playgroup participant.

Staying young through play

LOOKING into the bright eyes of a child with a welcoming smile is more than just heart-warming, it can even improve physical and mental health in older people.

Research shows it doesn't matter that people are at home or in a residential community, as they age their social network often becomes smaller.

As a result, older people can find themselves feeling lonely and socially isolated.

Building relationships between the generations through sharing learning and purposeful activities is one way to reduce isolation and break down negative ideas around ageing.

For older people, it's all about re-learning things they haven't done for a while, or using their knowledge in a new way.

Regular activities, like playgroups with art and craft, cooking, dance and singing, are the most beneficial.

An age gap of more than a century didn't stop Bolton Clarke Fairview, Pinjarra Hills resident Kittie, 103, and 15-month-old Harrison Kremmer from having lots of fun putting a puzzle together at the residential aged care community's intergenerational playgroup.

The weekly meetings, where children aged from three months to five years join residents for a playdate featuring games, stories, sing-a-longs and morning tea, are the product of a relationship between Bolton Clarke and Queensland Intergenerational Playgroups.

Fairview, Pinjarra Hills resident Frank Bennet has been a regular attendee since the playgroup program started. "I love playgroup," Frank said. "It makes me feel active and happy, but I try very hard not to play favourites with the kids."

Intergenerational Playgroups collaborates with aged care services to provide engaging and structured play-based learning activities between children and residents, while also providing parents with an opportunity to meet other families in their local community.

To find out more information about Playgroup at Fairview, you can phone 07 3855 9600 or go to




1. Pull out the cookbooks

Dig up old recipes and cook a family favourite with a youngster. It brings back happy memories to share and young people can help with new kitchen appliances or finding recipes online.

2. Get outside

Digging and planting flowers and vegetables is fun for everyone. Watch them grow together.

3. Puzzle it

Solve a jigsaw puzzle together for a shared experience.

4. Share a song

Tell a story, share a song, read a book or teach each other dance.

5. Have a tea party.

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