TEENAGERS have been getting to know elderly people suffering with dementia in a bid to quash stereotypes and to allow the old and the young to bond.
Students from Portchester Community School spent some time visiting Castle Street Day Centre as part of their health and social care course.
They then talked with residents from the centre and found out about their past and key moments they have witnessed in their lifetime.
Each student made a project illustrating the lives of the elderly.
Now, they will go on to write coursework on it as they approach their GCSE year.
Student Shannon Rose, 14, said: ‘I was told that it brought back lots of memories from the past.
‘I had respect for older adults before but now I have gained more respect for them.
‘I loved speaking to them. I found them so interesting. I found it really weird how things were so different and it was only in a lifetime span.
‘I found it strange to think how different it will be when we are that age.’
Amie Bodle, 13, added: ‘It’s special to them. It was really good. We got to see what they had been through in their lives.’
And residents attending the day care centre said they found it to be a huge benefit to meet the youngsters.
Sheila Richards, 89, said: ‘I liked it all. I enjoyed talking about the past. It seemed to bring the memories back.’
Ralph Rawson, 80, added: ‘It’s been very good. It brings things forward that you had forgotten from a long time ago. I enjoyed them coming in.’
To mark the end of the project, the residents were invited into the school for a tea party, which the students organised themselves.
Jackie Rea, health and social care teacher, said: ‘I wanted them to try and dispel stereotypes on both sides.
‘They have been over there for two visits to get to know how the people are cared for and what happens to them.
‘The students have then done a project about one of the people they met.
‘They had to find out about their history that they had lived through.
‘They then used the information in a creative way.
‘It’s been the first time this has happened and it’s been such a success.
‘The girls arranged the tea party. They prepared the food and designed the plan. It was about giving them adult responsibility.’
Roger Matthews, headteacher of Portchester Community School, added: ‘These youngsters have said how much they have been enjoying spending time with older people.
‘It gives them an insight into lives that have been well lived. It gives them an opportunity to really engage with people who are very appreciative of the time and attention they are giving them.
‘Also it gives them an insight into that life and how things have changed over the years.
‘They recognise that every person has a story to tell.’