INTERGENERATIONAL PROJECT LIGHTS UP BOTH YOUNG AND OLD

Milesian Manor, Northern Ireland’s first and only Lifestyle Care home in Magherafelt has launched a programme of events in association with local charity Kinship Care NI. The two organisations have teamed up to build relationships beneficial to both the elderly people living in Milesian Manor and the young people being supported by Kinship Care NI.

Children from Kinship Care will visit Milesian Manor on a regular basis and engage in a range of fun activities with the residents, the series of events kicked off with a ‘Pimp My Ride’ style project which saw the old and young come together to decorate the walking sticks and Zimmer frames of the residents. Cara Macklin, Managing Director of Milesian Manor Lifestyle Care Home explains how this came about;

“At Milesian Manor our focus is on not only meeting all nursing, health care and industry requirements but that we also go one step further in caring for our residents overall wellbeing and ultimate happiness, part of that is to keep our residents as integrated into the community as possible. We created the role of a Business and Community Engagement Co-ordinator which was our first step towards working more effectively with the local community, from that, we have identified a number of local organisations and charities that we are planning on working with over the coming months, Kinship Carers is the first of many and I am very excited about this one. We firmly believe that the young people involved will help to bring lots of laughs and smiles to our residents, but that our residents can offer something truly special in return to these young people.

Kinship Care NI is a charity which works to keep families together under difficult circumstances by supporting children who cannot be cared for by their own parents to live safely and securely within their own families and communities. Rose Hughes from Kinship Care NI explains how this project is helping those children;

“Children helped by Kinship Care NI have been through tough and sad times and they can often find interactions with adults and also their peers hard to navigate, when Milesian Manor approached us we were delighted to be involved and confident that these children would benefit greatly from engaging with the older generation. During the ‘Pimp My Ride’ session the kid’s faces lit up and for a while I think they truly forgot about everything else in their lives and just enjoyed the moment – It was magical and I am looking forward to more of our young people taking part.”

Extensive research internationally suggests that introducing these sort of intergenerational activities could be vital to both young and old, increasing self-esteem and enabling a child’s ability to interact and make friends, while also inducing greater smiles and more conversation in the older generations. Cara goes on to explain;

“We believe that the older generation still have a lot to give back to society has a whole, they have a lifetime of experience and they enjoy sharing that knowledge with the younger generation, they feel valued and play an important part of the community. After the first session, our home was full of fun and laughter as they discussed the children, the wonderfully decorated walking aides and of course all the fun they had together.”

Kinship Care will be visiting Milesian Manor each week and partaking in a range of activities from playing games, practising yoga and mindfulness, reading together, doing arts and crafts and lots more!