LEICESTER, England — A nursing home has launched a campaign where families with young children can “adopt a grandparent” in a bid to tackle loneliness among the elderly.
The heartwarming idea was introduced by Mountview, in Rothley, Leicestershire, England, after 93-year-old resident Edna Colton said she had always wanted a granddaughter as she only has grandsons.
The scheme invites families to visit the care home to spend time with seniors to help combat isolation and create multi-generational relationships.
Each month, volunteers now come into the home with their children for a lunch including activities and games, where young and old can enjoy playing together.
Manager Stacie Weaver, 38, said the initiative had proved a huge success so far with the visits leaving a smile on residents’ faces for days.
The move also comes as Age UK revealed more than a million older people can go over a month without speaking to anyone.
In addition, the UK’s National Health Service says hundreds of thousands of elderly people are “lonely and cut off from society,” especially those over the age of 75.
“When Edna told me that she’d always wanted a granddaughter, we worked closely with the staff and residents to see what we could do,” Weaver said.
“We’ve been really overwhelmed by the lovely responses and seeing the smiles on our residents’ faces has been really heartwarming.
“Schemes like this are so important to help older people, especially in care homes, as there will always be residents that are sat without any visitors.
“But it’s also really important for the children as many don’t have grandparents, so it’s great for them to be able to have role models to set an example and teach them to respect the older generation.
“We’ve been really shocked by how this has taken off, as we do so much for the community that this scheme is just part of a normal day for us.
“We always think of ourselves as one big family at Mountview, so it’s been lovely having such a positive community response, so we can make our family bigger.”
The nursing home aims to put on future day trips in the hope of making more special memories as the relationships grow between the families and the residents.
Colton added, “It’s great the children coming in. It really lifts your spirits. It’s nice to see the little children about you.
“Normally you are surrounded by old people all the time, even the carers are grown-ups, so it’s lovely to have the little ones around.”
One of the first families to take part in the initiative was mom Nayha Gounder, 37, and her husband Nikesh, 36, who brought along their two-year-old son, Oren.
Mom-of-one Nayha, of Leicester, said, “We had a lovely afternoon with Oren and the residents at Mountview.
“They enjoyed coloring, sharing lunch and playing together.
“Both myself and my husband Nikesh grew up living with our grandparents, and they played a hugely influential role in our lives.
“So it was important for us to have Oren interact and spend time with the older generation where possible.
“Research has also shown it’s hugely beneficial for both the children as well as the residents.
“But most importantly, the smiles on their faces and the happiness it brings says it all.”
Karrie Redmile, 38, A full-time mom-of-one, from Knighton, Leicester, took her 23-month-old son Reuben to the sessions.
She said, “I heard about this initiative through a friend and thought it was a great idea.
“Reuben has only one living grandparent, so it suited us greatly.
“I thought it would be a good way for him to connect with the elderly and build a bond with them over time and vice versa as some of the residents don’t have family or grandchildren.
“When we went to lunch Reuben was shy at first, but eventually, he was interacting with the residents, coloring in and playing peek-a-boo.
“It was great to see all their faces light up. We both had a lovely time and will be returning monthly to visit the residents.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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