An ageing boom, which is set to place new and untold pressures on the lives of carers in Australia, needs action toward solving the problem now. Professor Anneke Fitzgerald and Dr Katrina Radford (Department of International Business and Asian Studies) along with Dr Nerina Vecchio (Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics) are leading a nationwide investigation into the future of respite care centres and the potential development of a revolutionary intergenerational model in this space.
The aim is to build an age-friendly community where the quality of life of both young and old can be positively affected by mixing their care in an intergenerational setting.
The health and wellbeing of older people can be maintained and improved through social interaction. There are also potential benefits to be explored for people with dementia who spend time with young children. Intergenerational care has the potential to generate social capital rather than isolate a section of the population.
This innovative approach could save the government a lot of money. It incorporates an important educational component while also helping to delay institutionalisation and slow cognitive decline.
The idea of mixing young and old is not new, but the idea of mixing aged care and childcare in a formal program is in its infancy. Key issues to be negotiated include the development of workplace policy that accommodates both the healthcare (aged care) and education (childcare) sectors.