A DAY centre for the elderly has welcomed in the younger generation to bring ‘a breath of fresh air’.
Lockswood Day Centre in Locks Heath helps to support pensioners, and a new initiative – which encourages the community to bring in their little ones – is having a positive effect.
Jean Toom attends the centre run by Age Concern Hampshire.
The 85-year-old said: ‘I enjoy the company of everyone and all the activities we do.
‘I especially love the children coming in and singing along with them makes my day.’
The centre focuses on keeping their clients independent and enabling them to live in their homes as long as possible.
Jean added: ‘The day centre has saved my life.
‘I was frightened to go out of my door but coming here has given me back my confidence.’
Manager Mandy Rowlands said: ‘We decided to ask the local Locks Heath community to come in to the day centre with their children as people with dementia often respond well to being with babies and toddlers.
‘They remember the songs they sang and the rhymes they told their own little ones.
‘We called the session an Intergenerational Coffee Morning and were amazed how the community responded with 30 mums and toddlers joining us and it was an absolute joy.’
One mum commented: ‘I feel so proud of my little one for bringing a smile to so many faces today.’
The group is currently building a fairy garden with little houses for the children to play in and decorating rocks with jewels.
Mandy continued: ‘Our staff and volunteers feel quite emotional when a person who struggles to communicate verbally is seen singing all the words to The Grand Old Duke of York and loving it, or watching a game of catch between a three-year-old and a 90-year-old.
‘We love to see older people accepting new challenges and opportunities and taking risks sometimes and we are always right beside them to offer support.’
For further information about the Age Concern Hampshire Centres in the area please visit ageconcernhampshire.org.uk.