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Elders much to offer younger generations

Kandahar Home resident Dorothy Moss enjoys a moment with mum Te Ataahia Hurihanganui and baby Mareikura.

The Wairarapa is now home to more elders over the age of 65 than ever before, making it vital to challenge old stereotypes about ageing.

One effective way to do that is to foster contact between elders and younger members of the community, staff at Enliven’s Kandahar Home in Masterton have discovered.

The home recently played host to the Wairarapa’s Intergenerational Playgroup run by Lucy Adlam, and has in recent months fostered relationships with local schools such as Makoura College.

“We love having children around to visit. Apart from being a whole lot of fun, it gives everyone a chance to come together and learn from one another,” says Home manager Peter Newman.

“These days, with so many families living at greater distances from one another, it can be difficult for elders to find regular opportunities to interact with people from different generations.

“We do our best to make sure the residents here never have to miss out.”

Early studies suggest that interaction with children can help elders feel connected and engaged with their communities, as well as valued and respected for their experience with children.

For those living with dementia, time spent with children can also help unlock parts of the brain which have otherwise shown signs of decline.

“It’s been amazing seeing the way residents respond to the children, their eyes just light up. I’ve even seen elders with advanced dementia try to start talking again, it’s like a therapy, just seeing a child,” says Wairarapa Intergenerational Playgroup founder Lucy Adlam.

Kandahar Home and its sister site, Kandahar Court, both follow Enliven’s elder-centred philosophy, based on the internationally-recognised principles of the Eden Alternative.

It encourages elders to not only enjoy regular contact with children, but also with animals, plants and nature, and emphasises the importance of meaningful activity in elders’ lives.

Regular activities organised at the home include music therapy, arts and crafts, quizzes, crosswords, walks, sight-seeing tours and themed parties.

Enliven’s Kandahar Home on 8 Roberts Road, Masterton offers rest home and hospital care, short-term respite and health recovery care, and a day programme. To learn more, visit or call 06 370 0447.

Sister site Kandahar Court, located on 2 Colombo Road, Masterton, offers secure dementia care. Contact the friendly team on 06 370 0449.