Tots are proving a hit with residents at Coningsby care home

No age limit: A toddler and a resident enjoy one of the sessions at Toray Pines. Photo: Supplied.
No age limit: A toddler and a resident enjoy one of the sessions at Toray Pines. Photo: Supplied.

The last place you’d probably expect to find a group of boisterous three and four year olds is a care home.

However, that is exactly what’s happening at Toray Pines in Coningsby and the combination of ‘young and old’ is proving to be a great success.

Initially, Sarah Bonner - who is Activities Manager at Toray Pines - got together with a group of friends and took their toddlers into the care home.

The idea for the visits stemmed from Sarah watching the Channel 4 programme ‘An Old People’s Home For Four Year Olds.’

The programme showed what happened when nursery school children spent 
time with 11 pensioners for 
six weeks.

Sarah explained: “I watched the programme, and how the pensioners and children interacted with each other was really remarkable.

“I just thought it would be great if we could do the same thing here.

“A few of my friends are mums with young children so we got together and we brought them into the home.”

The first visits proved to be a resounding success, to such an extent Sarah is planning to stage them twice a month.

She explained the residents play games and puzzles with the toddlers, read them stories and have refreshments together.

Sarah said: “The reaction of the residents has been absolutely brilliant.

“When we tell them the children are coming on, the smiles on their faces say it all.

“They get so much enjoyment from the visits and the children really seem to enjoy it as well.

“We’ve a couple of residents who don’t really interact 
with anyone but when the children come in it is a different story.

“Because of the age difference, the residents and the children almost speak a different language but they all get on.

“On one of visits, one of the children got chocolate all over their face.

“A resident went away, found a wet-wipe and cleaned the mess up.”

Sarah’s own children were included in the first visits but now they’ve started school.

However, other youngsters have taken their places and Sarah would love to see the idea rolled out at other care homes.