Talks on dance and dinosaurs by local children for Ashwood Care Centre
Laila-Mai and Charlie zoomed into the home to entertain residents during Intergenerational Week in March
Residents of Ashwood Care Centre, in Warminster, welcomed two virtual visitors to the home for Intergenerational Week (23 – 27 March). Nine-year-old Laila-Mai and her cousin ten-year-old Charlie, who were regular visitors to the home before lockdown, joined a zoom call to entertain residents.
Laila-Mai is the daughter of Natasha, an Activities Coordinator at Ashwood, and Charlie is the son of Gaynor, a night carer that the home. Residents enjoyed a film of the Laila-Mai with her sister, Tallulah-Fai, performing a traditional dance, before a live zoom call with Laila-Mai in her living room, from where she talked about dance and led some armchair exercises for residents to follow.
Activities Coordinator, and grandmother to the children, Natalie Fletcher, said: “The residents absolutely enjoyed it, they needed no encouragement to participate, it was really lovely watching everyone join in. I believe it is so important for the different generations to come together, it is so beneficial for all.”
Laila-Mai had come up with the idea for exercises with residents after taking part in an online Bollywood workshop for International Thinking Day, marked by Brownies, Girl Guides and Scouts in February. Laila-Mai belongs to the Second Westbury Brownies. She said: “I found the dancing so much fun, that I wanted to share it with others. I have virtual lessons with my dance school via the TV. I thought it would be nice to add gentle exercises to the music.”
Resident, Jeanne, said with a chuckle: “How clever, it was just amazing to be able to have a conversation with Laila-Mai via the TV. We have come a long way since my youth when we’d try smoke signals to communicate.”
Charlie joined in the fun, later in the day, with a talk on dinosaurs relayed to residents via zoom. Charlie had given talks in person at the home before the pandemic, topics included space and biomes.
Resident Iris said: “I remember Charlie from his talk last time. He is very professional and extremely interesting to listen to. I wonder how his little brain could store all that knowledge.”
Ashwood is linked with Charlie’s St John’s School classmates in years eight and nine as residents and pupils exchange letters. It is hoped that residents may be able to join a lesson via video soon, and even organise an outdoor picnic lunch in the summer when restrictions lift.
Natalie said: “I am very grateful to Mrs Walker, Charlie’s teacher for linking up with Ashwood. We have a lot of exciting times ahead of us, once we have got on top of the COVID.
“Intergenerational links between the young and the elderly can help alleviate children’s fears about the elderly and getting old themselves. They can fill gaps where children have no grandparents, and residents have no grandchildren.
“Both groups look forward to meeting each other. Intergenerational links offer a sense of purpose and can help reduce depression in the elderly and energise them. They can broaden cognitive stimulation as well as opening new social circles. These events keep families’ histories alive by sharing stories. Most of all it is fun for us all.”