Local school children are working with Chorley Council and a local care home to bridge the generation gap and help to improve the mental health of older people in the borough.
Children from Gillibrand Primary School and residents from Coniston House Care Home recently came together at Buttermere community centre for an afternoon of fun, games, social interaction, singing and dancing.
This new approach is part of a project run by Chorley Council with the aim of tackling the loneliness and social isolation that some residents in care homes may be feeling. It was also part of the recent Dementia Action Week.
Councillor Bev Murray who is responsible for community development at Chorley Council, said: “Research suggests that more than one million elderly people regularly go an entire month without speaking to anyone. Loneliness and social isolation are a growing problem in the UK and are having a negative impact on health.
“Here in Chorley, we want to tackle that and make sure we involve all of our residents in the local community. It has been fantastic to see the children interacting with older residents and the older residents sharing their stories and life lessons with the younger generation.
“We want to organise even more of these activities so if any other schools and care homes would be interested in taking part, please get in touch with the council and we’ll take it from there.”
Vivienne, the activity coordinator at Coniston House Care Home said “It is a great day out for our residents. They thoroughly enjoy interacting with the children and we can see the benefit when we get back to the home, as they are eager to tell others about their day.
“Intergenerational activities are so important as our residents have lots of life skills to pass on to the children and in return the children give back memories and a sense of belonging. We want to be part of the local community as well as others being a part of ours”.
The staff at Gillibrand Primary school, added, “This is such a valuable experience for all concerned. The children were so excited to meet up with the residents. It was so lovely to see the connections forming between the generations as the children sang songs that the residents could join in with.”
Marie Holland, a resident at Coniston House Car Home said, “spending time here with the children is better than all the medicine in the world.”
Any schools and care homes that wish to be involved in the project should contact Chorley Council on 01257 515151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org