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Building on the success of the intergenerational program

Patients and students build accessible garden boxes together

Working together - students from Swansea Public School and Runnymede patients build wheelchair accessible garden boxes as part of the hospital's week-long intergenerational program.

Created in partnership with nearby Swansea Public School, Runnymede Healthcare Centre's intergenerational program is an outstanding example of how innovation at the hospital enhances the patient experience and enriches the local community. Students involved in the program learn by taking part in monthly activities with senior patients at Runnymede. In 2018 it was expanded to a week-long program and was such a success that the Grade 1 students returned for a full week again from June 17 to 21 – and this time they brought friends.

The intergenerational program enhances the social benefits patients gain from Runnymede’s activation therapy. The activation team modified their programming to integrate the Grade 1 curriculum. This includes shared arts and crafts projects and group exercise. In addition, the class was joined by Grade 7 students in Swansea's science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program, who helped build wheelchair accessible garden boxes for patients. Patients and children shared mealtimes, giving them extra opportunities to socialize in meaningful ways.

The program fosters increased understanding between generations. The enthusiasm the children bring when they visit has an extremely positive impact on the patient experience and their level of engagement. In turn, the children have an opportunity to develop a greater appreciation for senior citizens and become comfortable around people with some level of disability.