Nursery children and care home residents bridging the generation gap

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Children from a pre-school nursery in Bristol and elderly residents of a nearby care home are connecting across the generation gap as they interact together and develop friendships.

Residents at Osborne Court Care Home have been welcoming children from the Beckett Hall Day Nursery into their home for regular visits over recent months.

The children, in the 3-4 years age range join residents who are aged 70-90 years to enjoy activities together and to tell stories, sing and play games.

They have enjoyed arts and crafts, baking, eaten pancakes, made Valentine’s Day cards and around Christmas the children helped to decorate the tree and one of the residents played Santa.

The warm interaction between the different generations is gaining a huge public following. It recently featured on BBC TV’s “The One Show”. A video created by BBC Radio Bristol has had over 5 million views on social media.

Chantelle Bradford, Deputy Manager at Osborne Court, said: “People living in the home and the children really enjoy their time together. The residents are always pleased to see the children and talk about the visits for days afterwards. It is heart-warming to see how they interact so well together.

“Some of our residents are grandparents, but others have no family able to visit them so the children have a special place in their lives. The children bring them out of themselves and they become happier and more engaged. Similarly, not all the children who come here have grandparents of their own so the residents fill that gap in their lives.

“One little boy who has been coming here has become really fond of one resident, so much so that his parents have asked if he could still come to visit when he moves up from the nursery group.”

Lynsay Elliott, Nursery Manager, said: “We initially set out to encourage and help the young children to interact and be comfortable with older people and to broaden their understanding of their community. The relationships that have developed between the generations is lovely. It is clear that young and old get benefits from spending time together. The children have grown in confidence around the older people and interact naturally with them.”

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