A mother and toddler group has launched in a care home – to help its elderly residents cope with old age.
Parents brought the tots to play games, sing and make crafts at the Bridge House care home in Abingdon, Oxon.
The group, Little Care Bears, launched on Wednesday and there is already a waiting list for the monthly sessions.
It was inspired by research which shows elderly people who experience close intergenerational social interaction are less prone to depression and enjoy a reduced risk of disease.
Care home resident Rita King, 98, said: “I can’t remember the last time I got to hold a very newborn baby.
“It was just wonderful and it made lots of memories of my own children come flooding back.”
And Elizabeth Coleman, 88, added: “It’s one of the best reasons to get up in the morning to be faced with such great energy and enjoyment.”
Last year the home set up a Saturday group for young children from the community and care home residents to enjoy music together before launching the toddler group.
Some 12 residents, aging from 79 to 101, took part in the launch, and 11 children between the ages of four weeks and four years were brought along.
Joan Brice, 83, said: “It is one of the most enjoyable things to be part of and the children bring so much joy.
“I just love to see their little faces, I already can’t wait for the next one.”
She doted on six-month-old Leon Hook, who sat on her lap and gave her a big smile.
Baby Grace Fray, aged seven months, was also brought along by her mum.
Kirsty Fray said: “I loved taking my daughter and seeing the residents’ faces light up when we sing songs and play.
“I would recommend this group to anyone.”
Staff believe that it has made a tangible improvement to the mobility of some residents.
Home manager June Maharaj said: “At the trial session it was clear just how much the residents loved to hold the babies and play with the older ones.
“Mixing with the children seemed to give them a new lease of life which is wonderful to see.
“In one case, to our surprise, a resident who is normally very immobile started to play a game with inflatable hoops with the children.”