In the past when extended family systems were more common, grandparents were at the heart of the family. They lived with their children and their grandchildren, providing extra care for kids when needed and words of wisdom in general.
With a rapidly modernising society, extended families have slowly but surely given way to smaller, nuclear families that have seen grandparents moving out, either into their own homes with carers when they need them, or nursing homes.
With many nursing homes providing excellent services such as on-site medical care, cooked meals and many other facilities, moving into one usually is not an issue. However, they miss one thing – the laughter and joy that children bring that grandparents and the elderly love to hear and feel.
But one nursing home in Singapore has just changed this.
Left: merry-go-round with safety features for the young and old; Right: See-saw with wheelchair ramp
For the young and young at heart
Following over two years of redevelopment, St Joseph’s home reopened last month not just with upgraded facilities for its elderly residents, but also with a childcare centre and an intergenerational playground, say news reports.
It’s also the first such concept for Singapore.
The new childcare centre can accommodate over 40 children (two months to six years).
The brilliantly-designed playground meanwhile is a place where both seniors and little ones can ‘play’ safely. There’s a see-saw with a ramp and a merry-go-round that can take wheelchairs (don’t worry – there are wheel locks!) and has special seats for toddlers.
Opportunities for the young and the old to mingle are also created through art and craft activities.
“A trailblazer among nursing homes”
Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor spoke at the launch, and called the intergenerational playground a “trailblazer among nursing homes”.
She said, “By leveraging the simple yet universal concept of play, this playground aims to attract more children and young ones to interact with the seniors.”
Meanwhile, executive director of the home, Sister Geraldine Tan said: “Having an infant and childcare centre within the home reminds us of the purpose of life and of the importance of play and simplicity … everyone can find a place to co-exist.”
This intergenerational facility is the first of many more. Dr Khor also mentioned that similar facilities will be built in around 10 new HDB developments.
“By co-locating the facilities and having operators that will provide inter-generational activities, we hope to create more opportunities for the seniors to gain from the infectious energy of the young, as well as the young to better understand the seniors who share their community,” Dr Khor said.
Source: Channel NewsAsia
Featured image: Screen grab, Channel NewsAsia, image credit-Liyana Othman.
What are your thoughts on creating intergenerational facilities such as this? Let us know in a comment.