Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Social Services, has visited The Oaks Care Home in Newtown to find out more about the home’s Joining the Generations project.
The aim of the innovative project is to encourage local parents and their children from a number of Powys groups to spend time in the home with the residents, to encourage interaction, build bonds and share memories.
They meet every month at the care home and it’s a chance to chat to the mums, hold the babies, to sing songs, play fun games and share books to encourage the development of children’s interaction and communication.
Julie Morgan joined the most recent session along with two Welsh Government workers. They were joined by Shadea William, a community nursery nurse with Powys Health Visiting Team, Claire Evans, a speech and language therapy assistant with Powys Teaching Health Board and Francesca Landers, a specialist speech and language therapist with the Flying Start team.
Jane Jackson, Activities Co-ordinator for the home, said:
“This is the third Joining the Generations event we have held and it is continuing to be a huge success.
“Watching the intergenerational connections form in front of our eyes is very special for us as staff but, most importantly, for our residents. It enriches their lives and also brings back memories of raising their children and their close family connections.”
Jen Roberts, Registered Manager of The Oaks, said:
“I’m really proud of this project. I think integrating all the different ages – from babies to our oldest residents – is hugely important. It brings so many positives, including giving our residents the opportunity to stay up to date with younger generations who are in turn interested in their lives and what it was like growing up for them.
“We love bringing the community together and encouraging new friendships. It allows the mums to build their networks and the babies and children to make new friends too. It’s also a chance for them to grow their confidence in new environments, which will help them when they go to school.
“One of our residents revealed it was the first time she had held a baby in 21 years, what a delight it was to do so again and how it led to a flood of memories.
Jayne Ottaway was one of the parents who joined the session with her four-month-old baby daughter Everly Ottaway. She said: “I used to work as a domiciliary care worker when I was 18 so I am familiar with the care sector.
“I come from a big family and have noticed the benefits for older people of having children around them. With their conversation, games, chatter, singing and sense of fun, they really give you a young outlook.
“These sessions are a great idea. Not only did it make me feel like I was giving something back to the residents of the local community, seeing them smile when they interacted with Everly was very heartwarming. It was also a chance to make new friends and lasting companionship.”