Young care home visitors have the WOW factor
Published on 3 November, 2017
A group of pre-school children are helping to combat loneliness and boost the wellbeing of elderly people at a Highland care home.
Six residents at Whinnieknowe care home in Nairn, which is run by the Church of Scotland's social care arm, CrossReach, have signed up to the playdate project.
Aged between 65 and 100-years-old, they will take part in a range of activities including singing, arts and crafts and storytelling with their young friends.
The weekly project, spearheaded by care home Activities Coordinator, Sarah Butters, is called the Wee Ones at Whinnieknowe (WOW).
The families of 70 local children have agreed they can take part in the initiative, which was launched on Tuesday (Oct31).
This was made possible by working in partnership with Jayne Macintosh, manager of Junior World, a family support centre in Nairn, who helped find youngsters to take part in the WOW initiative.
Studies have shown the benefits of intergenerational schemes, which are more common in the US, can often drastically improve older peoples' quality of life.
A recent Channel 4 documentary 'Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds' featured a similar project near Bristol in the south-east of England and inspired Ms Butters to encourage residents to sign-up.
Care home manager, Lynda Wilson, said the public response to the idea of the project had been "overwhelming".
"We wanted to see our clients having the same response the older group had in the documentary, to combat loneliness, improve health and wellbeing," she added.
"We also wanted to reach out to the local community and to be a catalyst for integration for all ages.
"The response so far has been fantastic to see.
"The interaction between the ages, the communication and the joy expressed, was what we hoped for and more.
"We know that this pilot project will go from strength to strength."
CrossReach runs a wide range of services across Scotland to support some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland.
It employs more than 2,000 people and relies on a huge team of dedicated volunteers.