Pre-schoolers are bringing life and laughter to our residents with regular visits, thanks to a relationship with Abbotsholme School in Uttoxeter.
Colouring, jigsaws and sharing biscuits were the activities that brought together eight children aged three, four and five, and residents of Churnet Lodge, on their first visit on Monday 2nd October.
The relationship was organised after Head of Early Years, Ann Parker, saw a television documentary about the benefits of the different age groups being together.
“I’d heard about the idea some years before and thought it was a good one, but then I saw Channel 4’s ‘Old People’s Homes for 4 Year Olds’, and the advantages for both groups were clear – I was determined to make it happen.”
Manager of Barrowhill Hall, Martin Rogerson, said there was no hesitation in welcoming the children. “We see the difference it makes to people here when younger members of their families come to see them. Their mood changes, they’re more engaged.
“The residents have absolutely loved having the youngsters visit and chatting with them has helped them to reminiscence. The residents have shared their memories of school and have enjoyed talking about the things they loved to do when they were young, such as horse riding.”
96 year old Peggy enjoyed colouring with four year old Jensen. “I’ve got grandchildren and I love it when they visit. These little ones have been so much fun to have around, I’m looking forward to next week already!”
Research from the USA suggests spending time with children can have considerable benefits for care home residents. It can enhance their confidence, self-esteem and social skills, contribute to their emotional well-being and allow them to feel more connected to their community.
The children will visit every Monday for the rest of the school year and Ann Parker says the experience has been a great success.
“Some children, like Jensen, spend a great deal of time with grandparents so they’re used to older people and were comfortable straight away. Others, like Max, surprised us with his confidence in shaking hands and saying hello, and sharing out biscuits.
“It’s been a fantastic experience. We’re sure we’ll see some friendships form over the coming weeks.”