By Deborah Greenwood
Cockburn resident Iris Warren has developed an inter-generational playgroup that brings children into the Regents Garden Aged Care Facility.
The playgroup brings a boost of activity to the Aubin Grove centre, with about 20 residents spending one morning a week with children aged from three months to 13 years.
The idea was sparked when Ms Warren decided she wanted her children to spend time with the older generation and learn how to treat them with respect.
“I want them to understand that you have to make everyone feel like they’re valued, because that is the purpose of life – to feel like you’re valued and have worth,” says Ms Warren.
From doing arts and crafts to reading stories together, both generations are benefiting from the weekly sessions.
After five months, residents say they look forward to the clock striking 8:45am every Tuesday morning.
Having retired due to illness, 60-year-old former teacher, Jill Hopper, says that the playgroup has enabled her to continue doing what she loves despite her disability.
“It’s meant that quadriplegia isn’t the end,” says Ms Hopper.
The program is made possible by the generosity of members of the Facebook group ‘Cockburn Chat’ who have donated arts and craft supplies.
While Ms Warren says community support has enabled her to continue, she says she needs the help of more volunteers if she wants to expand the program.
In the meantime, Ms Warren says that getting to know the Regent Gardens’ residents has already changed her life.
“They have given me a purpose.”