INTERTWINING generations into nursing home care is being brought into the spotlight.
Nursing homes across the region are tackling isolation for elderly residents by incorporating intergenerational visits into program activities.
Stawell Eventide Homes has brought together the young and old in several weekly activities, involving playgroups, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools.
Lifestyle manager Grace Rethus said the residents just "light up" when the students enter the room.
"Some of the kids don't have grandparents in the area and vice versa," she said.
"We had one gentleman who had never held a baby.
"He had never had children or grandchildren, so during one of our mums and bubs sessions he held a baby for the very first time.
"He was just so over the moon. It was a beautiful thing to be part of."
Ms Rethus said it was important to see the connection within the community.
"Some residents might not engage with other residents but they do with the younger generation," she said.
"You just see the joy and smiles from both sides you know the benefits of an intergenerational program."
Stawell primary school chaplain Michael Lewis said he had never met a student who didn't enjoy the visits to the nursing home.
"I find the students really develop a sense of empathy for other people," he said.
"It's such a simple concept and it's amazing when they come out of a visit, the reward is intrinsic.
"The pleasure of caring for someone else. The simple basics of life the students really enjoy."
Mr Lewis said students who were perceived to have behavioural or social challenges could drop their guard when they attend the session.
"They can relax and talk with the residents," he said.
"It's a beautiful thing to watch."
Mr Lewis said the grade five and six students attended the sessions.
"We wanted to give the students multiple opportunities to attend," he said.
"They get three or four turns a year.
"They learn those conversational skills and social skills. Sometimes we come along and do activities, other times we just come along and chat with the residents."
Mr Lewis said it was "fantastic" for the students to be able to sit and learn from the stories the residents shared.
"They have a wealth of knowledge and life experience they share with the students," he said.
"We've chatted with some of the residents who were part of building the foundations of what the students experience every day.
"It gives the students a greater appreciation for the history of the town."
Eventide Homes resident Nancy Goodson is one of the first to come along each week to the visits.
"I attended Stawell 502 when I was growing up," she said.
"They used to hand out certificates for running and I share my stories with the students who visit me.
"The children think it's very funny to think I could run. One gave me a bit of cheek but I caught him before he got too far.
"I love having the students here. I love talking to them."
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