This last week, it was announced that the UK's first
intergenerational care home will open in London this year in September. An intergeneration care home is basically a children's nursery inside an elderly care home.
There many care homes like this that are running successfully in US, Canada and Japan. And the idea behind these types of care home is to solve the growing problem of loneliness and isolation that is becoming huge a concern in the health and social care sector. Especially in the UK.
There has been a lot of media attention regarding the elderly suffering from loneliness and isolation. And it could be for a number of issues: family problems or loss of a loved one.
When the elderly start feeling this way, they won't know what to do or who to turn to. But the opening of this new type of care home will encourage a more interactive behaviour from both generations.
By allowing both the elderly and young children to spend time together, studies have shown that it helps to boost their moral.
As for children, further research has shown that children who spend time with older people will benefit from seeing an improvement in language development.
So you can say that both parties end up a little better off after spending some time together. Won't you agree?
What Activities To They Do?
Speaking to the BBC, Fay Garcia, a 97-year-old care home resident had this to say:
“So they sing and they dance. And they play games. And it's fabulous. I mean, for most of the residents that go, they have a great time. They come alive.”
The children and the elderly get involved in activities such as singing nursery rhymes, egg-and-spoon racing and playing board games. It gives children more exposure with different people and helps the elderly to rekindle with their own childhood memories.
Could We See More Of These intergenerational Care Home Open In The Future?
That's what the aim is. The idea to introduce the UK's first intergenerational care home was by Unite for Ages and Good Care Guide. Speaking at the taster day, Stephen Burke, a representative for the organisation, spoke of how he hopes this intergenerational care home that will be opening up in London will be the first of many:
“The benefits really do outweigh the disadvantages. This is a model for other care providers across the rest of the UK. It certainly works across the world. There's no reason why we couldn't see many more of these in the UK.”
The scheme was trialled in Wales
earlier this year, and was met with huge success. It was also trialled in Cambridgeshire
and was met with the same result. And since these types of care homes have proven to be successful across the world, then there is a likelihood that it will be a success here in the UK.
The Things To Bear In Mind
As with most things in the care sector, there are a number of things that we have to be mindful of before we fully embrace these new types of care homes. We have to be mindful of the health and safety concerns. There are sickness and illness concerns as both groups, the elderly and the young are vulnerable to diseases due to their weak immune systems.
These are valid concerns. Parents would not want their child to be exposed to any illnesses. However, health policies have been put in place to ensure that whenever a child visits an elderly care home, it is done solely for social purposes. And never for medicinal or therapeutic reasons.
The elderly people who live in care homes love to spend time with children. It give them a sense of purpose and a belonging. It give them that interaction and feeling of appreciation that they want.
As Walter Goldstein, care home resident, also told the BBC: “As an old person, coming to the end of my life. It's a great joy to see new human beings growing and growing into people, into humanity, into maturity. It's a wonderful thing.”
Thanks for reading. What are your thoughts on intergenerational care homes? Let us know in the comments section below.
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