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Energetic tots make best friends with neighbouring care home residents

Nursery staff, Janine Al-Gailani (l) and Kathryn O'Neill, with the children and care home residents.
Nursery staff, Janine Al-Gailani (l) and Kathryn O'Neill, with the children and care home residents.

Energetic tots have proved that age is really just as number as they make best friends with local care home residents.

A new project in Glasgow is benefiting old and young alike, from three year olds to those aged 99.

Children from Silverdale Nursery in Dalmarnock have been paying weekly visits to their neighbours at Riverside Care Home.

The inter-generational project in the former Commonwealth Village is proving beneficial to all say staff from both places as the children learn from their seniors who, in turn, are kept active and alert by their lively young friends.

Margaret Anne MacKinnon, Silverdale Nursery Head Teacher, said: “The children love visiting their friends in the care home and welcoming them into the nursery. It is really lovely to watch them interact with their guests when they are here.

Karen Onodjo aged 4 with Margaret McColl aged 81.

“They do activities like baking and crafts together. It helps build the children’s social skills and they also benefit from the older people’s knowledge and life experience. They really enjoy each other’s company.”

Staff from the nursery take a group of children aged 3-5 years on a short walk to the care home once a week and the following week, care home residents, aged 65- 99 years, attend the nursery.

The youngsters recently joined their older friends for a Teddy Bear’s picnic at the care home and a sponsored walk is also being planned.

Margaret McColl, aged 81, care home resident, said: “I love it when the kids come to visit. They are wonderful and very funny. They make me smile and when they give you a cuddle, it really lifts you up!”

TV programme, The Care Home for Four Year Olds, featured an inter-generational pilot which highlighted the physical and mental benefits for older people in a care home environment.Tests showed the seniors’ mood, memory and mobility all improved during and after regular visits from a group of children.

Mark Kane aged 4 with Millie (left) and Margaret.

Janice Ritchie, Riverside Care Home Manager, said: “This project has made a big difference to our residents. When the children come in, our residents are all smiles and the children run to greet people they have a relationship with and who they are really fond of. It keeps our residents young and improves their mood and mobility. Some of our residents have dementia, but when the children visit, they recognise them. It is really amazing!”

Similar inter-generational projects take place at Glasgow Health & Social Care Partnership’s two other new build residential care homes – Hawthorne House in Bardowie Street and Orchard Grove in Prospecthill Road.

Cllr Mhairi Hunter, City Convener for Social Care Integration, said: “This project is a really heart-warming example of great partnership working which benefits everyone involved. The children and older people love getting together and learning from each other. It also helps to boost the health and general well-being of the care home residents which is absolutely fantastic.”