MEDIA RELEASE - Friendships span the generations as heart-warming local project works to prevent social isolation

A touching project which sought to light up the lives of those facing social isolation is now set to light up the silver screen, with Gymea Tradies set to air the locally produced short film ‘The Ripple Effect’ this weekend as part of an extensive program of local Seniors Festival events.

The film shines a spotlight on a program lead by Sutherland Shire Council last year which sought to develop connections between local teenagers and residential aged care residents living with dementia to help foster stronger ties between two demographic groups most at risk of feelings of social isolation.

An expert facilitator engaged by Council led a ‘Seniors and Teens Empathy’ program which saw students from Sylvania High School link up with residents at HammondCare’s Miranda Scarborough dementia care village to see both groups build connections and gain exposure to the stories and life experiences of another group who they may otherwise have not had cause to meet.

And with a film crew following participants over the eight-week course of the program, the friendships formed during the exercise are now set to be brought to life on the big screen as part of the Senior’s Expo to be staged at Gymea Tradies this weekend.

Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce said that he was heartened to see the strong bonds that had been formed between participants in the program, noting the film highlighted the benefits of fostering a greater sense of connection between all members of our community.

“The messages we consistently hear from our community is that young people and older residents are the two key demographics most impacted by social isolation,” Mayor Pesce said.

“The experience of COVID particularly highlighted this issue, as while we were all hit with feelings of isolation throughout lockdown, it was young people and seniors who were affected most acutely.

“That’s why it was so touching to see these two groups brought together through this program – the benefits for young people in learning from the life experiences of those many years older than them, and to see the joy in the faces of those older residents who connected with local kids and reconnected with a part of their own youth is so obvious to see.”

HammondCare General Manager Residential Care Angela Raguz congratulated Sutherland Council on the program and how it will help broaden understanding of dementia among local young people.

“Intergenerational programs like this can reassure residents living with dementia they are valued members of the broader communities where they live. This can improve their quality of life,” Ms Raguz said.

“The young people benefit too as they can learn from the wisdom and experience of the older people they meet. For some of these young people, it might encourage them to consider a rewarding career path in aged care.”

The short film ‘The Ripple Effect’ will air during a special screening at Gymea Tradies on Saturday 23 March from 12:30pm, with a question and answer session to follow for those interested in finding out more about the program.

The free event is currently fully subscribed, however those interested in attending are invited to visit to register their interest in joining the waitlist for any last minute tickets that may become available.