Many people watched the Channel 4’s show “Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds”. This documentary showed the impact of introducing pre-schoolers to a group of older people. This was the first time that intergenerational care was shown this way in the UK, and a lot of the viewers commended the programme and its results, and at Shinfield View we have to agree!

We teamed up with the Outstanding rated, “Honey Suckle Day Nursery”, and local parents, and started up our Baby and Toddler Group called “Tiny Feet” on a Wednesday morning. It will have been running for two years ago this year, and the outcomes appear very positive. The advantages we have noticed so far in our residents are – increased socialisation, more smiles, more laughter, the play provokes conversation, better diet, and children and residents encourage each other to snack etc...

Overall although the atmosphere is busy, some of the residents present a more settled persona, especially those who may usually suffer anxiety. Children who may come to an initial quite reserved, and unsure, soon flourish and grow in confidence, and shared learning occurs, with both children and residents teaching the other how to do something. Week on week the children remember the different resident’s, and seek them out in the group.

The Reading sessions we hold give the residents a sense of real purpose, reading and teaching the young children. The musical sessions we hold with Kiddledivey shows a shared appreciation for music, singing and dance, and is great for the interaction between the two groups. When activities are hosted such as meeting the Birds of Prey, then you see the nurture of the younger children, with the residents reassuring them, and encouraging them to participate. In turn, many residents due to familiarity of when they raised their children, grow in confidence, and sense of self-assurance.

The effects of the group are really heart-warming. One of our residents who had one daughter who sadly passed away said, “it’s a light relief, its lovely to see them, its one extreme to the other, old to young, it evokes memories of when my daughter was young, but that’s all a long time ago now. People are very lonely when they come in you see, but they get over it fairly quickly”.

We love our Tiny Feet Baby and Toddler Group, so long may it continue! Please fell free to join us, every Wednesday 10.15am-11.45am, at Shinfield View Care Home in Reading- it is completely free so just pop in!