A Channel 4 series ‘Old People’s Home for 4 year olds’ has demonstrated how social contact with younger people can create a better quality of life for the elderly.
The two-part series investigated what happened when a nursery group share their classroom with 11 pensioners for 11 weeks, with four-year-olds and 84-year-olds working and playing together.
The ambitious experiment aimed to transform the way society cares for its ageing population, providing health and happiness for the older group.
Discussing the project and its findings, Ben Allen, who recently became one of Care Home Professional’s 2017 annual Leaders In Care in the ‘Innovators in Care’ category, said: “It’s brilliant to see the huge boost in wellbeing older people on the Channel 4 programme are experiencing. This is something very close to our hearts.
“At our social enterprise Oomph! Wellness wellbeing involves empowering older people to live their life in full colour, so they can pursue new, as well as old, hobbies and passions, alongside improving physical and mental with adaptable fitness classes. We are making huge strides in transforming wellbeing this year, with 60,000+ classes and outings for care home residents.”
From a sample group of older people’s home residents, the Channel 4 series found that 1/3 exhibited some signs of depression, nine and 10 found life unexciting and half felt hopeless about the future.
However, Allen found that Oomph!’s research with care home residents found that 90% demonstrated a significant improvement in mood, sociability and mental stimulation through doing classes and trips.
“With the right support, older people are rediscovering and pursuing passions such as motor racing, cocktail making or playing musical instruments, and are feeling fitter than ever with chairobics sessions and outings to art galleries,’ added Allen.
“Even the oldest care home residents are making friends and more fully engaging in life, after previously rarely or never interacting with others at their home.”
Laura Marston, activity coordinator at Berehill House care home in Basingstoke says residents “Don’t necessarily want to sit and crochet a tea cosy.”
“A lot of my residents enjoy drinking gin and we run cocktail classes and make gin ice lollies in the home.”