The elderly population of the UK is growing. Traditional health and care services are struggling to cope with the demand. With an increasing older population we see an increasing prevalence of dementia in society with most individuals completely unprepared for the impact dementia has on families.
This project aims to establish a formal link between the pupils of All Saints' C of E Primary School Maldon with the residents of Longfield dementia care home.
Our initial project has demonstrated some incredibly powerful early results which you can see for yourselves in the accompanying videos but we want to do more.
By formalising the project in the new academic year we hope to demonstrate scientifically that educating primary school age children alongside adults in care home settings has measurable positive effects on both the children and the residents.
We believe it is the start of the social movement required to enable society to cope with our growing elderly population.
What we'll deliver:
- Connect year 6 school pupils with elderly dementia residents in Maldon
- Undertake an academic evaluation of the benefits of the project to both the childen and the residents
- Explore opportunities to expand the project to other schools and homes within the county of Essex
- Create a social movement to make intergenerational connections commonplace in Essex
Why it's a great idea:
Research tells us that younger and older people are the two groups of society most affected by ageist attitudes and marginalisation. We wanted to look at a new way of tackling this problem so we teamed up with organisations caring for both groups.
Philip Brown, Headteacher of All Saints', explains: “We’re always looking for ways to involve the school in our local community and have been nurturing some early links with three care homes over the past six months. We wanted to give our oldest pupils confidence in building new relationships before they go on to secondary school.
“Staff within the care homes were hopeful that the experience could also help to reduce social isolation and loneliness amongst residents. The visits from our Year 6 pupils have been revolutionary for both age groups.
“We’ve seen some amazing and beautiful friendships unfold over the past few months. It’s been like watching our very own version of the Disney Pixar film ‘Up’.”
Steps to get it done:
- Project initiated for year 6 pupils
- Academic evaluation and outcomes
- Proposal for wider adoption created
NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working with Longfield Care Home and All Saints' Church of England Primary School, both in Maldon, throughout 2018 to bring pupils from the school into the home to spend time with people with dementia.
The CCG are working with Anglia Ruskin University on evaluating outcomes of the project for the people living with dementia and the school pupils involved.