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