Adopt a Grandparent, an independent charity seeking to build intergenerational relationships across the globe, has shared a story that displays the power of human connection to mark World Alzheimer’s Month.
Gay Vaughan, a resident at one of CHD Living’s homes which has residences throughout Surrey and South West London, has recently partnered with a dedicated volunteer through the initiative that matches younger volunteers with members of the elderly population. Adopt a Grandparent aims to facilitate the forging of cross-generational friendships, having a positive impact on seniors’ emotional well-being.
Gay, who has dementia, has experienced a heartwarming transformation through her participation in the initiative, which has supported her in rekindling her engagement with the outside world. Importantly, the relationship with her volunteer also unlocked Gay’s remarkable ability to remember her ‘grandchild’. Despite the challenges of living with dementia, the power of their connection speaks to the impact of company and companionship.
Gay’s ‘grandchild’, Jennifer Jackson, shared that she signed up for the charity following a feeling of “great sadness” after the loss of her grandmother. The sadness, Jenny stated, stemmed both from the grief of losing a grandparent as well as feeling a disconnection from her grandmother’s generation, their experiences, and their life lessons.
Jenny said: “I wanted to reach out to make a positive difference, to build new connections and gain perspective in my life. There is so much to learn from the older generation, their wisdom and life experiences are a real inspiration to me. It also helps draw out what’s important in our lives: our family, friends, and the things we enjoy; it highlights the importance of remembering and celebrating those things that make us who we are.”
Heidi Bradbury, Manager of Surbiton Care Home where Gay lives, has stated that the scheme and newfound friendship “instils in her a sense of belonging to a larger world beyond these walls. She truly feels that her engagement with the world outside has expanded her circle of friends, demonstrating that her companions within this home are not her sole source of connection.”
Shaleeza Hasham, founder of Adopt a Grandparent, also gave her thoughts on Gay’s story: “I absolutely love this touching story of Gay and her volunteer ‘grandchild.’ It beautifully illustrates the incredible power of human connection and showcases the profound impact initiatives like Adopt a Grandparent can have on the lives of individuals, especially those facing unique challenges. It demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring bonds that can be formed across generations.”