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Tackling loneliness and preventing prejudices by bringing young and old together

Date: 24th August 2018

A budding friendship has formed between two people with an age difference of more than 97 years.

Lilian Thomas, 98, spent the afternoon playing and chatting to six-month-old Rupert King who had come to visit her and other residents at Amberley Hall care home in King’s Lynn.

In a new initiative called Bridging the Generation Gap, the care home has teamed up with the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) West Norfolk branch to bring young and old together.

On the first day of the new scheme, on Tuesday, August 14, babies, toddlers and children from the trust visited the care home to play, dance and sing with the residents.

Amberley Hall activities co-ordinator Elaine Lott said the scheme would help tackle loneliness among the elderly.

She added: “For the children, they can interact with older people and prevent prejudices in later life.

“With our residents, they are just so happy and all have a smile on their face.”

Similar schemes around the country have found a number of beneficial side effects of the elderly and children coming together, including improved mobility and mental health.

Following the success of the first day of the scheme, Ms Lott is hoping to make it a regular monthly event.

She added: “Some of these children may not have grandparents and the residents may not have family or see them regularly, it’s helping everybody and lifting the mood.”

Claire Gosling, deputy chairman of NCT West Norfolk, said: “It’s really lovely seeing all the residents responding to all the little ones.

“Things like this prevents the fear of different kind of people for the children, it makes it normal.”

Andrea Haylett, a resident at the care home, has no children of her own and said she enjoyed spending time with the youngsters.

“It’s nice to just mess about with them really, we’re all old dears here but we are loving it.”

Deirdre Burman, who has been a resident at the care home for just a week, said: “It’s good to have a mixture of ages and for the children to get used to older people.”

Full article can be found here

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