Children from Meadow Kindergarten, Old Meadows Lane, met with elder people from Glenroyd Care Home, Whitegate Drive, on Thursday as part of a new plan to enrich the lives of both old and young.
Nursery manager Gemma Green said: “It’s a lovely experience for the elderly residents.
“One of our parents is a manager there and she commented that a gentleman who rarely says two words was in his element and didn’t stop talking when the children were there.
“It was really nice to see two generations enjoying each other’s company.”
The children will visit Glenroyd Care Home each week to chat with residents, read, and take part in arts and crafts activities.
It is hoped the regular social sessions will give a helpful boost to residents with dementia and memory problems.
Gemma said: “Channel Four did a documentary last year that commented on the health benefits for elderly people, and with us being just around the corner, we thought it would be nice to go and lighten up their day.
“It is encouraging the children to care for the elderly and it’s a learning experience for them. We will be liaising with the home for future events. They’re having a petting zoo coming in that we’ve been invited to.“The parents have absolutely loved it and they were so excited to see how the experience had gone. We wanted to give the elderly residents a new lease of life and what better way than through our children?”
The rewards of friendship
It has long been believed that inter-generational bonds have a positive effect on elderly people’s lives.
Channel 4’s 2017 documentary, Old People’s Home for four-Year-Olds, showed strong friendships between develop between elderly care home residents and schoolchildren.
Residents who complained of loneliness and a lack of enthusiasm for life found they became happier and more fulfilled.
American non-profit organisation the Healthy Ageing Partnership promotes inter-generational friendships. It says: “The excitement of seeing the world through younger eyes can get older adults ‘up and doing,’ reducing depression, relieving boredom and improving health.”
It is also believed that the knowledge and experience of the older generation is helpful to children’s development.
Psychology professor Laura Carstensen, of Stanford University, California, said: “Contrary to widespread beliefs that older populations consume resources that would otherwise go to youth, there is growing reason to think that older people may be just the resource children need.
“Older adults are exceptionally suited to meet these needs in part because they welcome meaningful, productive activity and engagement.”