Monsters, witches, ghouls and ghosts were found at Dormy House care home in Sunningdale last week as the regular toddler group enjoyed a theme morning with residents.
Dormy House Toddler Group is going from strength to strength, backing up all the research which indicates that intergenerational projects are beneficial to both older people, including those living with dementia, and to children.
Carla Cashley, Activities Co-ordinator at Dormy House, part of the Caring Homes group, launched the toddler group in August as she used to take her grandson, George into another care home she previously worked at and witnessed the positive effects and change of behaviour in the residents. Bonds have quickly formed with the children and their parents greeting residents with big smiles and the occasional hug while the residents eagerly wait for the little ones to arrive.
She said; “It has been a huge success, quite overwhelming to be honest. Every session has been positive and you can really see the changes in the residents when the children are here.”
Resident Anne, who used to be a nurse in London, has attended every session and always reads a story to the toddlers.
“It is my favourite activity,” said Anne, who dressed up as a witch for Halloween and read stories about Meg and Mog – a witch and her cat. “The children are just lovely and it is such fun to spend time with them.”
Bracknell mum Emily brings her daughter Liana, one, to the group.
“It is a brilliant idea, a really good social activity and the care home residents really seem to enjoy it. The interaction between the generations is lovely to watch – there is no judgement from children this young.”
Mum of two Liz was at group with Fin who is 21 months. Her older son who also attends when not at nursery says going to Dormy is House is ‘going to see all the other nanas and grandads.’
“This is such a positive group,” said Liz. “It does the boys a lot of good to learn about different parts of life and all the different type of people in it. Their own grandparents live miles away.”
Already at Dormy House the care team can see a difference in some of the residents with the children giving them real purpose.
Resident Marie, who is living with dementia, rarely wants to take part in activities but loves to interact with the children.
Home manager Joanne Gullon said; “Marie doesn’t usually like a lot of noise but she wanted to come and see what was happening at toddler group – she absolutely warmed to a young baby. She now comes to the group on a regular basis and to see her face light up is lovely.”