Groups of children local to Green Tree Court have struck up an unlikely friendship with our residents, breaking down barriers between young and old.  Our residents regularly enjoy visits from students from Willowbrook School and Chestnut Nursery School.

Intergenerational care is thought to have officially started in 1976, when Shimada Masaharu merged a nursery school and care home in Tokyo with great success. In the UK, similar projects are on the rise, promoting all kinds of benefits for those involved, such as…

Both generations are entertained

Children say the most comical things. Many residents may not have any grandchildren in their life, and would otherwise miss out on the fun of being in the company of children. Similarly, children may not have grandparents in their life- and would otherwise miss out on the entertainment that the older generation can provide.

Residents can partake in activities they might not otherwise make time for

Sometimes it can be hard to feel motivated to try new things. Having energetic children around may provide the right encouragement to get out of a chair and have a walk around or do some gardening. or painting.

Visits improve the children’s language and communication skills

As a child develops, it’s essential that their communication skills are nurtured in order for them to be capable of expressing themselves. By talking to older adults, who likely use different language than that to which they’re accustomed, their vocabulary will develop along with their confidence, too. The ability to communicate effectively is a key skill, and the better we are at it, the better our quality of life will be.

The residents teach valuable lessons

There is no better way for children to learn than talking to adults with important life experience.  What’s more, children love stories, and care home residents have hundreds of them to impart onto young ears.

It’s an opportunity for social interaction 

Social isolation among the elderly typically comes about for reasons such as lack of transport options in the area, a lack of a sense of purpose and living alone in an unsuitable and isolated environment. Regular visits provide that social boost allowing them to connect. Social interaction presents some important health benefits for older people, including a potentially reduced risk of dementia and an extensive range of physical problems, such as high blood pressure, arthritis and cardiovascular activities.

Last year, Channel 4 released a programme ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ showcasing a social experiment in which  residents of a retirement community in Bristol were recorded for a six-week period. The series observes the impact on the project on the older people’s cognitive and physical responses as well as the children’s intellectual abilities, all of which greatly improved.

Home Manager, Helen Rushton, believes in all the above benefits. “It’s a win win for the children and our residents. They get to share one another’s company  and take part in all kinds of wonderful activities organised by Merle. We are seeing brilliant results at Green Tree Court, too! The residents absolutely love it when the children visit!”