An Aylesbury nursing home, MHA Hillside, is crossing the generations with its activity sessions by welcoming a local nursery group for weekly visits.
Jade’s Daycare Nursery has been visiting the home every Friday for the past year, with children getting to know the residents who are living there.
Activities have included dancing, singalongs, ball games and storytelling sessions. The children also love bringing in cakes and biscuits, specially baked for the residents.
Thierry, a young boy at the nursery, formed a close bond with one of the residents, called Ava, through the storytelling activities, sitting on her lap and reading the story aloud to her.
Nursery and care home staff alike are quick to remark how the visits brighten up the days of everybody involved, putting smiles on the faces of residents and children.
Jade Champagnie, Manager at Jade’s Daycare Nursery, said: “The children love coming back to the home and are always telling nursery staff and their families about the visits. And for the residents, seeing and hearing the children’s enthusiasm for the visits makes a huge difference to their day.
“The sessions are so beneficial for everyone involved – it’s been lovely to see the friendships blossoming over the months between old and young.”
Grainne Wokes, Home Manager at MHA Hillside, said: “The residents really look forward to the children coming in to see them every week. They treat them like their own grandchildren!
“Some of our residents have complex health needs – they can be quite unresponsive, but when they see the children, our carers often notice a physical reaction or change in their mood.
“No matter how small – it could be just the twitch of a smile – it’s fantastic to see that the children’s visits are having that impact. It really is a beautiful thing to witness.”
The home, which offers nursing care for older people as well as younger people with complex needs, uses regularly planned activities to help bring the different age groups living in the community together. These can include visits from singers, magicians and even animals.
The activities are open to everyone, with residents choosing the ones they wish to attend. Technology is often used to bring these sessions to life – with a ‘Guess that tune’ game via YouTube music videos, for example.
There are plans to bring even more cross-generational activities into the home in future too, with the idea of a parent and baby group being discussed by staff.