New Century Care are joining the increasing number of providers of care for the elderly to bring young and old together with intergenerational playgroups – moves that have been described as one of ‘the highlights of the week’ by residents.
Over the last six-months, the intergenerational playgroup concept has been trialled at New Century Care’s Westbank care home in Kent, and since June at The Oaks care home in Colchester. With successful results at both homes, New Century Care now plans to rollout intergeneration playgroup sessions across all 21 homes in the group over the coming months.
The move follows similar schemes in the United States and Australia showing positive outcomes for both the young and the old – particularly in tackling loneliness among the elderly residents and improving children’s language development.
The scheme involves homes opening their doors every Friday to children and their parents. As part of the playgroup, parents, who are required to attend with their children, are encouraged to sit back and relax while the residents and toddlers interact with each other. Activity Coordinators at the homes design and implement an action-packed day of games in the garden, arts and craft sessions and, of course, the much-loved sing-along at the end of the day.
The programme is specially designed by the New Century Care staff to allow full participation from the children and the residents, in a way which will keep them safe, healthy and active.
Genevieve Rodrigues, home manager at Westbank care home, said: “The staff love watching the children and the residents form these new relationships and have fun together. It is so important for our residents to be part of the community, and for many of them, the playgroup is one their highlights of the week.”
Lindsay Ridley, activities coordinator at The Oaks care home said: “It is such a great experience for both the residents and the children. Interacting with the children brings huge smiles to the residents’ faces, and it is good to see so much excitement on all sides. Events like this are a hallmark of good care, and we couldn’t be happier to have more planned. We all can’t wait for them to visit again.”
Jon Catterwell, regional manager at New Century Care said: “We have been running the playgroup at Westbank and The Oaks for six-months now, and it has proven to be a huge hit with both the toddlers and our residents.
“Having the children, who are wonderful bundles of energy, and their parents at Westbank and The Oaks, encourages our residents to be active, and helps them to interact and remain engaged with the local community which we value so highly. We are now working with our other homes and their respective local communities to set up similar playgroups.”