Sandown Park care home in Windsor is bringing generations together by working with a local pre-school. Every fortnight, the home welcomes children from local group ‘First Steps’ to spend time in the home, interacting and socialising with the residents.
The home, which is part of the Healthcare Homes Group, provides high quality care for up to 95 residents, many of whom live with dementia. It specialises in providing specialist dementia care and in the provision of innovative projects to support those living with the condition.
Following a successful project in 2015-2016 in which local army wives visited the home with their young children, this new initiative has been brought to life, and has been successfully underway since April this year.
The local Windsor/Datchet Children’s Centre made contact with Sandown Park and First Steps Pre-School, which is based near the home on Hanover Way, to pilot the project and to see if the children and adults benefited from the experience.
The pilot was a great success and the nursery now attends every other week, supported by Amanda Beldom, Children Centre Support Worker, with an activity for the children and adults to do together.
Four or five children aged 2-4 spend time with residents that wish to take part in the visit. The children join them in arts, crafts and activities and encourage everyone to join them in singing and making music.
The home continually looks for new and innovative ways of delivering dementia care. It was recently announced as a finalist in two categories of the prestigious national Dementia Care Awards.
The annual awards, organised by The Journal of Dementia Care, recognise the very best in the dementia care sector and Sandown Park is a finalist in the ‘Best Dementia Garden’ and ‘Best Interior Dementia Design Categories’. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in November.
Activities Coordinator Marie Snowball said, “It’s really wonderful to see the young and old interacting in this way. We know that ‘intergenerational care’ has been found to be effective with supporting dementia patients, so when we were approached by First Steps we knew this was something we wanted to pursue.
“We are always looking for new ways to connect with residents and provide them with events or activities that spark happy memories or make a special connection with them. The children provide just this. Whether residents choose to simply sit and watch the children play, or get involved and join in the games and activities with them, we really see them light up and enjoy their visit.”
Amanda Beldom of the Children’s Centre said “This project gives both generations the chance to interact and enjoy each other’s company. It gives the elderly a chance to revisit their youth and reminisce about when they were younger.
“The children love the attention and demonstrating skills they have learned. All in all it’s a lovely session enjoyed by everyone involved.”