Acorn House Care Home has always had an open door policy, but when a mother and son walked in one day, they could never have anticipated the positivity that would follow.
Two years ago the Carrington based home welcomed two unexpected visitors, Natalie Holmes, and her 18 month-old son Daniel. The mother was keen to volunteer within the home so that her son could be around older role models, having no great-grandparents himself.
Following discussions with Natalie, it was agreed that their visits would involve regular 1-1 sessions with one of the residents, Stuart Gulliver.
Stuart, aged 89 at the time, was feeling lonely and down, despite the efforts of care workers to support him to engage with residents and to take part in activities and events.
He would spend the majority of time in his room and due to having no family and friends, felt lonely and removed from everyone around him.
Daniel was first introduced to Stuart during a group visit. Prompted by his mum, the toddler introduced himself to each resident at the home and showed them paintings he had done that week.
Stuart’s initial reaction was promising, and although initially shy, he was soon asking Daniel lots of questions and engaged with him well.
There was a difference in Stuart’s mood immediately, and having never socialised with other residents he was overheard telling them about “the little boy that he had spoken to earlier”.
Two years later and the trio have a very strong friendship. Stuart considers Daniel to be his great nephew and looks forward to his weekly visit, where they play games, read books or enjoy regular outings.
There is also a growing relationship between Daniel’s mother and Stuart. They enjoy their regular chats and talk about the exciting activities they have planned.
Laura Lee, Acacia Care’s activities coordinator, commented: “Stuart is now continually out of his room, and takes part in activities and events. He has found a new purpose in life and the transformation is heart-warming. They share a very special bond and it is benefiting them all individually.
The success of this has spurred us to introduce more intergenerational projects into the home.”
Two more intergenerational projects taking place at Acorn House include young adult opportunities and a partnership with a local nursery.
Young people aged from about 18-20 are ‘buddied’ up with a resident from the home, where they can learn from each other, build trust and enjoy companionship.
Local Carrington Day Nursery has also formed a partnership with the home, providing the opportunity for old and young to engage. The aim of this project is to enable residents who previously worked with children to experience this joy once again, joining in with sessions and activities and engaging in the children’s free play.
Laura added: “We are really looking forward to seeing the outcomes of these additional intergenerational projects and already we can see how all ages are enjoying the experience.”
Acorn House Care Home is located in the area of Carrington, providing residential and dementia care in a luxury and homely environment.