Emily and her 8 year old daughter Amelia talk about being part of the little visitors scheme.
How do the visits benefit you and Amelia?
Emily – Initally I thought the ones to benefit from the visits would be the residents and children. It didn’t take long to learn that I was going to take a huge amount away from the visits too. Being able to share experiences and learn from an older generation is great. Seeing the residents enjoy themselves by just being around children is amazing. It’s an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours at the weekend and it means so much.
Amelia – because I like meeting new people and old people are quite nice. I like playing with them and showing them new toys and games they’ve not seen before like my build a bear things. Visiting my older friends makes me feel happy and proud.
What do you notice about the residents when they are with the little visitors and why do you feel the visits benefit them?
Emily – The room is always so full of smiles and welcomes when we go. As more little visitors arrive you can see how happy the residents are. Most residents are keen to get involved and mix with them and one or two just like to sit back and watch them play, even when just watching, there are lots of smiles.
I imagine living in a care home and being away from your own families can be a little isolating and lonely so the visits help to combat that. The residents seem so much more energised after an hour or so with the children. Some of the residents have told me how much they love the visits, how they look forward to seeing who will be there to play. Being around the children and babies encourages the residents to talk about their own families which could be so easily forgotten. As a mum I love the pointers and reassurances I’m given by people with many more years experiences parenting on this planet than me!
Amelia- they look like they’re really enjoying themselves and they like that people who are young come to play with them.
What do you notice about Amelia during the visits and afterwards?
Amelia is very sociable and caring but can be a little energetic and ‘full on’ at times. I was a bit worried that she might be a bit like a little hurricane passing through the home. Instead I have seen the most beautiful and gentle side to her. She very naturally adapts her behaviour which enables her to communicate really effectively with the residents. She is calm, speaks clearly and makes sure she spends time with as many people as she can (Although she has a clear firm favourite in Gill!). Amelia likes to meet people with a shared interest and she is always excited to learn that even her older friends have or did have, the same interests and hobbies as her.
After the visits I always tell her how proud I am of her. I know she doesn’t really understand that what she’s doing is so special. For her it just makes sense as something people should do. Her nature is to always do things that either benefit other people, animals, the environment, the list is endless…….😊 This fulfils some of that for her. The calm but still very sparky Amelia continues for the rest of the day.
I think the whole concept of the scheme is wonderful. I’m so glad we’re involved. Amelia says it’s really cool 😎