As a society we interact with people of all ages as we go about our daily lives; we meet mothers and children, teenagers, adults and older people. It is becoming increasingly evident through studies that there are many positive benefits of intergenerational interactions. As we age and become less mobile our world can become smaller and we need to plan more to have access to the company of younger people especially if we do not have families of our own with visits from nephews, nieces and grandchildren.
Older adults report that spending time with children and teens impacts their confidence, self-esteem, and social skills, contributes to emotional and overall health and well-being, and enables them to learn about others and feel connected to their community.
And it’s a win-win. It just doesn’t benefit our elderly; studies have shown that children who are part of intergenerational programmes compared to their peers in traditional preschools, are more patient, express more empathy, exhibit more self-control and have better manners.
At Priors Mead we always have an open door policy for our residents’ family and friends and we cultivate friendships in our local community.
Our neighbour Felicity and her two young sons Charlie (1) and Sebastian (3) have become regular visitors. Following a TV programme depicting the benefits of intergenerational contact Felicity said, “The programme highlighted how the company of young children proves so uplifting. We live next door so I thought ‘let’s be neighbourly’. We all look forward to our weekly visits, I get to spend time in the company of people who have a lifetime of wisdom and experience have some great conversations, and Charlie and Sebastian develop important social skills at the same time as enjoying all the attention and interest they get.”
Starting this month we will also be supporting individual social care students from East Surrey College who will share in life at Priors Mead as part of their work experience. Priors Mead is the only private care provider in Reigate to have been selected as part of this project initiated by Skills for Care.