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Intergenerational facility bridges the gap in a Western Australian first

In a first for Western Australia, aged care provider Oryx Communities and early learning and development service Ngala are launching a co-location partnership at Claremont location The Queenslea, bringing together the young and old.

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L-R: Christina Venables, The Queenslea Aged Care; Deborah Worth, Oryx; Toby Browne-Cooper, Oryx Founder; Fiona Beermier, Ngala CEO; and Kate Pitt, Ngala. [Source: Supplied]

Oryx Communities new state-of-the-art facility will not only house residential aged care and seniors living residences, but will also host the services of Ngala through an Early Learning Centre.

The launch of this initiative will be the beginning of one of the first intergenerational care models in Western Australia.

Managing Director for Oryx Communities, Toby Browne-Cooper, says this is an exciting project that will create a unique opportunity for connection between young and old.

"We are delighted to partner with Ngala to enable The Queenslea to offer vitality to the young and old within the Claremont-on-the-Park precinct," says Mr Browne-Cooper.

"The way we view aged care in this country has changed. Our residents at The Queenslea will be able to enjoy a homely environment in an enriching and supportive community where couples can stay together and where families, friends and pets are welcome, with the delight of interaction with children available on a daily basis."

At the moment intergenerational residential aged care models are still in their infancy in Australia, however, Mr Browne-Cooper says that it has been seen to be successful in the United States. 

Mr Browne-Cooper saw the intergenerational model in action in America over a decade ago as well as the success of the initiative; he has been planning to implement the same intergenerational concept in Australia ever since.

"The elderly benefit from socialising beyond their existing friendship circle. They increase their self-esteem and emotional wellbeing by sharing their stories, experiences and care to younger people," explains Mr Browne-Cooper.

The intergenerational component will be a keystone of the available activities and responsibilities to assist The Queenslea residents, and also an opportunity for the children to remain engaged and rewarded.

Both age groups will feel the effect of the research-proven rejuvenative and meaningful enhanced learning opportunities.

Mr Browne-Cooper adds that Oryx has a commitment to their residents at The Queenslea, that they will never want for anything.

He says Oryx aims to ensure that the full spectrum of health and wellness services and facilities, and specialised expertise, is readily available and accessible for their residents. 

So this new intergenerational initiative will add to the organisation's current offerings and create an environment to assist individuals optimal health and wellbeing in a way that works for them.

For 50 years, Ngala Early Learning and Development Service (ELDS) has been providing child care with a child initiative approach through play-based learning.

Ngala wants their children to experience happy moments of play and learning, and is hoping they will look back at their time with Ngala with awe and wonder for all the special memories they will have.

Chief Executive Officer of Ngala, Fiona Beermier, says that the vision for Ngala's ELDS is to create learning environments where children feel safe and secure. 

"At Ngala our 'Why' statement is the very lens we look through when making strategic decisions, which benefit the outcome of not just the organisation, but the families, carers, children and community we support," explains Ms Beermier.

"We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to be their best, and that raising children should be a joyful and rewarding experience."

Ms Beermier adds that the opportunity to collaborate with Oryx at The Queenslea in Claremont is an opportunity for Ngala to enhance their children's developmental milestones, and that the proximity, experience and outcomes of the centre and the intergenerational human link will be hugely beneficial to everyone involved.

"Apart from being innovative and contemporary, Ngala believes that learning takes place across the lifespan of a human being and our lives are enhanced through the co-construction of learning," says Ms Beermier.

"As we all come from different walks of life, child based interactions with the older generations vary. Our new location will provide the opportunity for children to build relationships, friendships and support good mental, emotional health and wellbeing.

"The benefit children and their families will gain is undeniable as through this form of interaction, a child will learn to interact with care, empathy, respect for others and develop self-regulations of their emotions. We look forward to achieving the outcomes for children and residents through the delivery of this service and program."

Both Ngala and Oryx look forward to a successful launch at The Queenslea Claremont into the local community and are excited for the future of their co-located partnership and what it will bring.

To find out more about The Queenslea facility and their new partnership with Ngala, visit the Oryx Communities website.

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