Why we work with our local schools

Sue Ann Balcombe, General Manager, Priscilla Wakefield House

We feel here at Priscilla Wakefield House that relationship centred care is extremely important and so is intergenerational bonding.  It has many benefits from improving their immune systems to enhancing social intelligence.  Research by the Intergenerational Foundation has found that only 5% of older people in England and Wales now live near someone under 18, whereas 15% did so 25 years ago. So the idea of intergenerational care – where children and older people come together to sing, play or just chat – seems to have much to recommend it. 

This type of interaction can decrease older people’s loneliness, delay mental decline, lower blood pressure and even reduce the risk of disease or death. But, at heart, the benefit of almost any interaction between young and old is self-evident.  We see the joy that having children in the home can bring to the residents at Priscilla Wakefield House.  There is a need for this contact and we are opening our doors now to baby stay and play sessions hosted by the local Children’s Centre to improve the regularity of this contact in then home. 

We have had world book day where the children read books to the residents and in turn they got to keep the books, we also had Hallowe’en so it made it a safe place for the children instead of out on the streets and it was another opportunity for the residents to intermingle and have some fun. 

We saw lots of laughter from both the children and the residents and it boosted their wellbeing. 

We did have some reservations before we started, like would the children be safe in this environment and how would the residents be around the children but although there were issues to deal with, the benefits, for both the children and the residents, have outweighed all the challenges we had envisaged.  

We urge all care home settings to make relationship centred care using intergenerational to enhance wellbeing of the individuals being supported as the impact is immeasurable.  



The Intergenerational Foundation (nd) Generations Apart? The growth of age segregation in England and Wales. Retrieved from: http://www.if.org.uk/research-posts/generations-apart-the-growth-of-age-segregation-in-england-and-wales/.

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