Students traded their tips on technology with aged care patrons yesterday in return for some pointers on activities like knitting, euchre and carpet bowls.
Around a dozen students aged 10 to 15, plus a couple of University of Wollongong students, took part in the three-day program of activities, which ran this week at IRT William Beach Gardens at Kanahooka.
Acting IRT chief executive Craig Hamer said it was the first of IRT's Intergenerational Learning Community events that aimed to bring people of different generations together to learn from each other.
"With an ageing population we are finding a growing number of elderly residents have the ability to take control of parts of their own health care through technology, but many aren't quite sure how to use it yet," he said.
"This program gives the students a chance to teach elderly residents how to use simple iPad applications and at the same time allows the elderly residents to teach the students skills that are fast being forgotten in the community, like knitting."
Fifteen-year-old Maddison Classen, of Farmborough Heights, said she had enjoyed interacting with the elderly residents.
"I think we've all learnt a thing or two," she said.
"They've been teaching us some great craft activities, card games and carpet bowls and we've been showing them how to use new technologies.
"They've loved asking us about our lives, and they've had some good stories to tell too."
Colleen Marks, 73, has been a resident of the Kanahooka aged care facility for two years, and said she enjoyed spending time with the students.
"We've had a ton of fun and while I'm yet to master this iPad technology, it's been a good experience."
Illawarra Teaching Research Aged Care Services project manager Katie Davies said the pilot program had been a great success and would be rolled out at other facilities.
"About 50 residents have taken part and they've learned some valuable skills, like how to Skype," she said.
"And students have had a wonderful time too - it's been great to get these two generations together so they can learn, and teach, each other."