There were smiles all round at Chiltern Court Care Home’s first ever Bridge the Generation Gap children’s play group on Monday. The weekly play session will give care home residents a chance to interact with the youngest generation — an experience suggested to slow the onset of dementia.
Children as old as five, and younger than one, could choose from a bundle of toys and games, whilst residents and parents enjoyed cups of tea and cake. Watching their faces light up as they engaged with the kids, it was clear how much the residents enjoyed meeting their young visitors.
The event was set up by Chiltern Court Care Home’s Activities Co-ordinator, Hayley Rentall-Cripps. She explained, “There have been quite a few studies that show people with dementia, or the onset of dementia, mixing with children aged 5 and under can slow down the onset of dementia and bring back some key functions in the brain. That’s part of the reason we set this up.
The other reason is, some children don’t have grandparents or don’t get to see them very often, so we’ve got a whole home full of ready-made grandparents, if you like. Old ladies really do love it; babies and animals are the best things ever.”
Hayley also pointed out that it was a great opportunity for children to learn about, and from, another generation. “The residents here, the stuff they do remember, it’s like a living history lesson, so they can teach stuff to youngsters,” she said. “It’s therapeutic for the older people, but also it’s really good for youngsters because some are scared of zimmer frames, walking sticks — this just tries to get over that barrier.”
The pre-school play groups run every Monday morning, from 10am – 11:30am, at Chiltern Court Care Home (by Townlands Hospital). A second play session for children up to 8 years old will also be starting on Saturday (9th March), again between 10am and 11:30am. This will be taking place on the second and fourth Saturday of each month, and gives older children a chance to join in. Parents and kids are invited to pop in and meet the residents of Chiltern Court Care Home, who are looking forward to welcoming them!