Did you see Channel 4’s documentary ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ earlier this summer?
The documentary saw pre-schoolers swap their nursery for a nursing home as they joined a group of pensioners for six weeks. The aim of the documentary was to see whether a group of four-year-olds can be the key to fighting loneliness among care-home residents.
Another similar initiative has been running at a care home in Walsall for almost a year now, and has proven to be a success with both residents and children alike.
Children identified as being at risk of communication delay and residents identified as being at risk of depression and loneliness, have been taking part in the Integrational Project held at Delves Court Nursing Home for the last year.
The sessions last for around 45 minutes and run for six weeks at a time, with the children and residents engaging in craft-based activities, story time and singing. The initiative has seen the care home team up with Fullbrook Nursery School and Palfry Day Nursery.
Jo Bennett, Manager at Delves Court Nursing Home, reveals that the project has had a big impact, boosting the morale of residents an children alike.
“The residents here really look forward to the visits. The sessions are full of laughter and smiles, it is so warming to witness some of the residents displaying such enthusiasm, as the meaningful engagement provides them with a sense of purpose. You can almost see the spark as it reignites within.”
Hanna and Heather, Delves Court activity co-ordinators say that although it takes a lot of organisation and time, the results are more than worth it. “The residents often chat about the children and the craft they have created in their coffee mornings. They are delighted to have the opportunity to help the younger generation grow and develop.”
Both residents and children benefit from sensory activities and listening and attention tasks which provide stimulation to talk and collaborate across the generations.
The children gain confidence and some begin to take the lead when residents struggle. Both groups are engaged, inquisitive and comfortable with each other, feeling able to talk openly. The project supports positive values, with children gaining understanding and respect for the older generation.