In today’s world, older people and children often live very separate lives. Yet many academic studies highlight the benefits that the two generations experience when they get together.
For children, spending time with older people, particularly if they don’t have (or live some distance from) grandparents, boosts their social and emotional skills and broadens their empathy. Older people report feeling happier and healthier – indeed, the benefits for those who are living with dementia can be transformational.
What we’re doing at Care UK
There are fantastic regular inter-generational activities taking place across Care UK’s care homes. Some of the residents at Sandfields in Cheltenham help local primary school children with their reading skills. At Appleby House in Epsom, pupils from the local primary school are firm friends with residents because they’ve been meeting up since 2015 for art and musical activities.
Residents living at Colne View in Essex are involved in the Archie Project, a nationwide inter-generational project set-up by the charity Reminiscence Learning that’s helping to dispel the myths and stigma associated with dementia.
Residents have teamed up with a Richard de Clare Primary School for the second year running. Schoolchildren regularly visit Colne View to take part in different activities with the residents, getting to know them and learning more about dementia. Residents and children recently enjoyed a dementia-friendly theatre trip to see the Wizard of Oz.
This year’s project launched last month with an introductory session at the school, followed by a Dementia Friends session at Colne View, but the cinema visit was the first time the children were able to put their new knowledge into practice.
“A trip to the cinema may feel like an odd way to learn,”says Razvan Stanbeca, Colne View home manager. “But we wanted to take the children out of the classroom environment so they could see how small changes such as leaving the lights on, or having an interval, can improve the experience for people living with dementia – not to mention the social aspect the initiative offers, helping to reduce isolation in older people”.
Colne View look forward to continuing to work with pupils at Richard de Clare Primary School as the Archie project progresses, and continue to build on the friendships which have been forged.