The power of one to one connection
Staff at Jaybees Childcare are passionate and proactive at connecting children with older people in their local community. “Granny Bees” their intergenerational project took a long time to plan and posed many hurdles (one being that the older people were often too busy to take part), however when they met Heather who offered to volunteer everything fell into place.
Heather is an older person with an early diagnosis of dementia who comes into the nursery to do various activities with the children several times per week. The children don’t see her health condition and see Heather as a friend, someone with a friendly smile, sitting on her knee for a cuddle and a story, or someone who will listen, sit and chat if they are feeling worried or lonely.
The project aimed to embrace generations coming together by creating an environment for seniors and juniors to enjoy each other’s company at a pace suited to all. Heather initially visited Jaybees Childcare one afternoon a week, her daughter Suzie drove her over and picked her up. She stayed close to other staff initially and helped support the children during their activities, crafts, outdoors, baking, snacktime, etc. However, Heather now visits three afternoons a week and travels independently on the bus (just one stop away in either direction).
Benefits for the Community
This intergenerational project has helped connect members within the community giving the children extra support and a role model. Additionally, ageism is challenged on both sides resulting in a reduction in loneliness and isolation. Following Heather’s participation, Westfield Care Home were excited to join and regularly visit the children.
Benefits for the Younger People
- Children feel happy, and have a new friend to listen and chat to, who reads them stories.
- Improved communication with an older person
Benefits for Heather and residents
- Heather has gained a sense purpose and feels valued for who she is.
- Heather has found an outlet to contribute her enthusiasm, kindness and life skills to.
- Heather has become more independent and travels on her own.
- Heather has increased her social connectivity
- Residents feel less lonely and enjoy an environment where they fell truly welcomed and valued.
There were no initial costs, however Jaybees Childcare have since paid to register Heather on the PVG scheme, as well as supplying a uniform for her. Additionally, all nursery staff are now trained in Dementia Awareness delivered by Alzheimer’s Scotland.
At the moment the nursery are actively seeking more volunteers and are in contact with their local dementia nurse who is helping with this. They would not change a thing if planning this project again.
The nursery uses evaluation techniques learnt at the Generations Working Together one day training course. Heather’s daughter, was an active partners as were the children, families and nursery staff who selected age appropriate methods to collect findings feeding back to all concerned.
More information can be found on the a case study on Jaybees
Community connections, improved health and wellbeing.
Scottish Strategic Objectives
This project contributes to the Scottish Government’s Strategic Objectives a Healthier and Smarter Scotland.
Smarter – Expanding opportunities to succeed from nurture through to lifelong learning ensuring higher and more widely shared achievements.
Healthier – helping people to sustain and improve their health, especially in disadvantaged communities, ensuring better, local and faster access to health care.
Scottish NPF outcomes
This project contributes to the Scottish National Performance Framework (NPF).
Children and young people – we grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential
Communities – we live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe.
Education – we are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society.