“When the children come, my world is complete.” Pat Shaw House resident
Older people who move into care homes often experience great feelings of loss: of their home, health and independence. Many residents tell us they feel forgotten, cut off from the wider community and social activities they have known all their lives. Confidence is knocked and people withdraw.
Magic Me offers new activities and a change of pace. Young people bring fresh energy and ideas, encouraging their older partners to join in. Magic Me artists are experienced in devising intergenerational projects that cater for diverse groups. Children are carefully prepared and practise communication techniques so they are ready to meet people who have had strokes, with dementia or sensory impairments. They reflect regularly learning much about themselves as well as the residents.
“It was just amazing! I loved it! Some people say that old people forget things, but I think they are really, really clever.” John Scurr Primary school pupil.
Older people relish a chance to contribute to their community by supporting local children’s education. They enjoy meeting a new audience with whom to share their life’s experiences. But many residents also want to learn themselves: to take digital photographs, to sing a new song or try drawing for the first time in 70 years.
Intergenerational projects linking care homes and schools are one of Magic Me’s core programmes. Residents told us they also wanted evening activity, to relieve the boredom between dinner and bed.
Since Autumn 2010 we have run Cocktails in Care Homes, bringing evening activity to four care homes each month, hosted by young adult volunteers.
“When you come we know we are not forgotten.” Silk Court resident