05 March 2021
Schoolchildren letters spark intergenerational friendships at Heather Vale care home
Local schoolchildren are using the power of kind words to bring joy to residents at Heather Vale care home in Chesterfield.
The students, aged 10-12, at St Peter & St Paul’s school have been spending their time in the third national lockdown writing and sending thoughtful letters to lift residents’ spirits – inspiring residents to write back and build intergenerational friendships.
The surprise letters started to arrive in February. In them, the children were eager to tell residents about their hobbies, favourite sports and school subjects. The curious students were also keen to ask residents what their favourite animals were, what they used to do as a profession and how they celebrated Christmas this year.
The residents are delighted with the letters they’ve been receiving. One of them, Patricia Wheatley, 85, has expressed her appreciation, saying:
I felt very happy to receive the letters from the children. The letters give the children a motive and something to take an interest in, during lockdown. I enjoyed reading the letters and finding out about what activities the children like doing.
Heather Vale residents have responded to the letters and are all looking forward to continuing their pen-pal friendships.
Sarah Lacey, Home Manager at Heather Vale, said:
I feel very honoured that St Peter & St Paul’s chose our care home to send the letters to. The letters bring great joy to the residents and help them reminisce about the old days when they were younger. It’s a great opportunity to be able to learn more about the residents and about their pasts.
Heather Vale is just one of Anchor Hanover’s care homes involved in a range of intergenera-tional activities. The staff continuously look for new ways to provide residents with opportuni-ties for intergenerational interactions, to foster new connections and greater understanding across care homes and retirement schemes.
At the start of the pandemic, Anchor Hanover launched the #BeKindToOneAnother initiative, encouraging people to send letters, pictures and poems to care home residents in their local community. Soon after, care homes became inundated with bundles of messages from mem-bers of the community, including hand drawn pictures and cards. More recently, a resident of a Thames Ditton care home used technology to overcome the limitations of lockdown, by re-cording classic bedtime stories for children at a nearby nursery, which she used to visit regularly ahead of the pandemic.
Catherine Holmes, Director of Care Quality at Anchor Hanover said:
At Anchor Hanover, we see first-hand the benefits of intergenerational interaction, for both our residents and the young people. It’s a great way for our residents to engage, it gives them the opportunity to reminisce and share stories of their youth. For young people, those activities teach them confidence, respect and foster greater understanding.
We’re very proud of how we managed to continue our various intergenerational activities de-spite the limitations of the pandemic. They have really lifted spirits and brought smiles to everyone’s faces. We can’t wait to meet with our young friends in person again.
Looking for a care home for yourself or a loved one? Why not find out more about what Heather Vale has to offer? For more information on Heather Vale care home, call 0800 032 8750 or visit our dedicated webpage.
Read more from Anchor Hanover
Supply of retirement communities needs to be boosted by a third by 2040, finds new report
The International Longevity Centre’s report, What we want: Future-proofing retirement housing in England, highlights the importance of housing designed specifically with emerging care needs in mind...