Visits from the local school or Kindergarten never fail to bring a smile to our resident’s faces, but some Oceania Rest Homes have taken it one step further. St Johns Wood Rest Home started the Grandfriends initiative which is built on a relationship with the nearby Laughton Street Kindergarten. The children and residents come together every fortnight to socialise, and join in activities and celebrations together.
Watch the video to see Grandfriends in action
The idea was to provide residents with a regular opportunity to engage with children which leads to relationships forming, the sharing of their experiences and knowledge and contributing to the community. The residents get a real sense of purpose from their interactions – having a reason to tell their stories, sharing the joy of reading, and teaching the children about manners and respect. Both young and old look forward to these regular visits and learn a lot from each other!
Many other Oceania Rest Homes have similar special relationships with children and families in the community. Wharerangi is involved with Adopt a Grandparent, Atawhai has weekly visits from mums and babies from their local Plunket Group and Woburn residents frequently spend time with their local pre-school.
“When the children visit the residents hearts start to melt and they just start smiling. There is a warmth when the kids walk in. They’re not afraid to talk to the residents. You can see it on the resident’s faces, big smiles. A lot don’t have the privilege of seeing their own grandkids and great grandkids on a regular basis so it’s just wonderful.” - Jacqui, Staff member
"It’s wonderful, I love it. I thought they (the children) would be bewildered by all these old people but they’re not, they just come up to you and chat.” - Koa, Oceania Resident
“It’s so lovely to see them. I have great grandkids who are in their teens and I don’t see them much. Their little faces brighten our day, and they seem to enjoy it as well. They think of us as their grandparents. It’s given us a touch with the outside world.” - Maureen, Oceania Resident
"It improves the residents mental state and positive well being. It has really lifted the place. The kids are interested to show the residents things, ‘Look at my picture, look at my profile’. It has a positive effect on both the residents and kids” - Sini, Clinical Manager
“I’m an ex kindy teacher – You can feel the energy and excitement in the place when they visit. You can see it in the kids little eyes, they’re so excited and the oldies light up with delight. We’re all inspired!” - Robyn, Staff member
“I find the visits very entertaining; they’ve made me feel a lot better. I have children of my own and I’m very encouraged by the children – it makes me feel younger than I really am." - Ray, Oceania Resident
“I like the kids. My Grandson goes to the Kindergarten, he comes in with his mates and he loves it. He talks and sings, and we can sing with them.”
- Perry, Oceania Resident
"They don’t treat you as if you’re too old to have fun. It’s great for us to get down to their level, and talk about things they’ll be interested in in the future.” - Miriam, Oceania Resident
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