We live in a society where the divide between young children and pensioners is getting increasingly bigger, driven by an ageing population at one end and technology at the other. In recent years, there have been quite a few different social studies on what these two age groups can learn from each other. The most recent was the Channel 4 ‘fly on the wall’ documentary ‘Old Peoples Home For 4-Year-Olds’. In this social experiment, one of the UK’s biggest retirement villages opened a nursery where classmate’s ages ranged from three to 102. The aim of the exercise was to see what the very young and the very old could learn from each other.
The programme helped to identify the vulnerabilities in the older generation such as loneliness, anxiety and loss of confidence. It also showed how the enthusiasm for life and the ‘into everything’ attitude of a four-year-old can help to lift spirits in the older generation enhancing memories, movement and interest. It was a great way to educate the children who took part in important life lessons and about ‘the olden days’ which to many of them are now just pictures in books or online. All in all, it seemed that the care home residents and the young children all gained from the interaction.
At Cuddles Parkstone, we were really inspired by the programme. We were contacted by Regency Manor Care Home in Lower Parkstone who, also inspired by the programme, wanted to see if we would be interested in us bringing a small group of children to visit the residents. After a very successful first visit where the children shared bubbles and musical instruments and chatted to the residents, we have now arranged to visit the care home every Tuesday, allowing both the residents and children to share activities.
Here are just a few pictures of our recent visits to Regency Manor Care Home: