BONDING: Meadowside Care Home residents with Lavendale Montesorri children during the bonding sessions
A mother and franchise owner is aiming to bridge the age gap in the wider London area with a series of workshops that will bring together pre-schoolers and pensioners.
Jennifer David, Debutots franchisee for Finchley, Hampstead and Muswell Hill, is hoping to re-engage in intergenerational bonding so that nursery children and older people, in nurseries and care homes in North and North West London can enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of spending time together, something that was denied them during the pandemic.
In Japan the ethos is embedded into society where they recognise the benefits for a range of different ages, it sees different generations mix together and take part in shared activities and experiences.
Mother of three, Jennifer, who has been using drama to entertain, educate and inspire children of all ages since 2007 through her Debutots franchise, was involved in organising regular intergenerational practice sessions prior to the pandemic.
During the weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions in care home settings, nursery children would engage in a range of activities that were suitable for both generations. This included storytelling, singing, dancing and games with the residents.
Harinder, leisure and lifestyle organiser at Meadowside Care Home commented: “We’re delighted that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted and we can once again welcome young children into our Finchley-based care home. During the pandemic, our residents who are aged 80 and above really missed the children.
HAVING FUN: Meadowside Care Home residents with Lavendale Montesorri children during the bonding sessions
“Spending time with them brings them so much joy, evokes memories of when they were parents and makes them feel perky and young. All of the sessions are opt in and I must say that we get a very good take up. I can see that they help to address issues of isolation and loneliness and boost the emotional wellbeing of our residents.”
Lavinia Todd, deputy manager at Lavendale Montesorri, added: “Not all of our nursery children live near their grandparents or have the opportunity to socialise with older people so the benefits of these regular intergenerational sessions are immense. I’ve seen the practice improve our children’s use of language, their social interaction and communication skills.
“It also makes them see ageing in a different light and teaches them kindness and empathy. Practically, this arrangement works perfectly for us. Our Woodside Park-based nursery is just a 10-minute walk away from Meadowside Care Home. We usually take a group of seven to nine children aged between 3.5 and 4-years-old to the care home where Jennifer is waiting for us with a range of stimulating activities.”
“It would be lovely to bring this mutually beneficial partnership back to the wider community, said Jennifer.
“Since the pandemic, this practice has largely been put on hold so I’m urging care homes and older people’s housing schemes as well as nurseries and parent and toddler groups to get in touch to find out more about this practice and how we can collaborate to make it work. The benefits are both significant and far-reaching.”
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