BRIDGING THE GAP: Arts 4 The Ages will run for the first time at Proserpine Nursing Home on July 6.
BRIDGING THE GAP: Arts 4 The Ages will run for the first time at Proserpine Nursing Home on July 6. Natalie Combs

Art 4 The Ages bridges generation gap

MIX the energy of a toddler with the experience of the elderly and you'll get Art 4 The Ages which will run at Proserpine Nursing Home for the first time on July 6.

Airlie Beach local and coordinator of the program, Lisa Smith had a friend in the US who started the program and after watching her success unfold, Ms Smith decided that she could run a similar program and approached Proserpine Nursing Home.

"My thought for my own kids was that I want my kids to be able to interact with the elderly,” she said. "I don't want them to be afraid of them or unsure when they're around them and I want them to have a respect for them.

"My hope is to make it quite fun so we'll have music and balloons and try to make it quite festive for the kids.”

Children and residents will sit side-by-side and participate in art workshops run by local artists including Linda Forrester, the talented local artist behind the Proserpine Hospital Whitsunday mural.

Ms Smith said the program serves two purposes which will benefit both the children participating and the residents at the Proserpine Nursing Home.

"The intent is primarily to bridge the gap between generations,” she said. "You're teaching children about art and giving them an activity, but you're also introducing them to the aged population while you're giving the aged a pick-me-up and the energy of the kids.

"I can just see how the residents of the Proserpine Nursing home would find a lot of joy in getting the opportunity to interact with the kids and help them with their art.”

Proserpine Nursing Home's Lifestyle Coordinator, Carmen Lanham said that having worked with similar ideas in the past, the success between the elderly and the young is extraordinary.

"Many residents that may experience the effects of dementia can often not communicate well but when you add children into the mix they can often start to communicate as they did with their own children,” she said.

"There's no expectations between either of them so there's no feelings of 'I must perform,' they just feel very relaxed and enjoy the process.”

The first session has reached capacity but Whitsunday locals who would like their children to participate can contact Ms Smith to register for the following month through the Art 4 The Ages Australia Facebook page.

DETAILS

  • WHEN: July 6, 9.30am
  • WHERE: Proserpine Nursing Home
  • COST: $10 per child, $15 for two children and $20 for three or more children
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"The place was packed and it was a really good time,” he said.

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