Multigenerational Magic

We all know the benefits of exercise, but a new partnership between Lollipops Tauranga and a local rest home is taking the positive effects of getting moving to a whole new level.

Every Friday, a group of preschoolers from the centre catch the bus to Bob Owens Retirement Village to join the residents in their daily fitness session. Together, the multigenerational group stretch, shake and wiggle together, creating a special bond that reaches far beyond the realms of everyday fitness.

“The children really enjoy doing the exercises with the elderly, and the retirement village residents love it too. In fact, one of the carers told me that one of the elderly residents usually doesn’t speak much but has become very chatty since having the children around,” says Lollipops Tauranga head teacher Ashleigh Drabble.

The new partnership began last month, driven by Lollipops Tauranga’s desire to integrate more into their local community.

“We wanted to get out into the community more and make stronger connections with those around us. It’s so beneficial for the children, and for the residents of the retirement village too.”

The children love engaging with the elderly and it creates powerful opportunities for them to build empathy, kindness and patience and develop a positive attitude towards aging. The visits also spark tremendous joy for the rest home residents who love the chance to chat to the little ones and feel much more motivated to move their bodies in the fun, multigenerational classes.

The weekly visits have proved such a success that the centre now hopes to build further on their burgeoning relationship with Bob Owens Retirement Village.

“As the months go by there will be more opportunities that arise from this relationship, like the elderly visiting us in the centre and doing other planned activities with the elderly and the rest home,” Ashleigh says.