Baby Group’s Visits at Elmbrook Court Care Home
Visits from a parent and baby group at Elmbrook Court care home are helping one of our resident recover from a stroke that’s taken much of her speech.
Margaret Gibson, 81, thrills in seeing the youngsters from the Grove and Wantage Families Community Group (GroW) every week. Helping young children has been a rewarding part of her life, having worked at Fledglings playgroup in Harwell for 15 years, and as a volunteer for the Sure Start programme in the local area, offering parenting advice and support to families.
Her daughter, Sue Farrell, said the visits are the activity her mum most looks forward to. “It’s a real joy for Mum as she has always loved babies and small children,” she said.“The group triggers very happy memories for her. Her face always lights up when she walks into the room and sees them there. It’s lovely that she has the opportunity to cuddle a baby and watch young children run around.”
A significant stroke in April of this year left Margaret’s speech and communication severely impaired with only one or two words to her vocabulary. But when she’s in the company of the little ones, she relaxes and the words start to come. “She can sometimes manage short sentences which is wonderful to hear!” said Sue. “She often takes the staff by surprise!”
The manager of the home’s residential unit, Jenni Morgan, attended Margaret’s playgroup when her own children were small. “We take time to get to know our residents and understand their past careers, their interests and what they want to do with their lives now,” she said. “I used to go to Fledglings every week so I knew Margaret when she moved in. It’s lovely to be able to give her time with the children, something she really enjoys.”
Head of Client and Resident Experience Jim MacLeod, said welcoming the community into the home has benefits for everybody. “It’s great to have the children in to visit as it keeps our residents connected to family, friends and the different energy small people bring. We can give the group a lovely space to enjoy and time with older people who can offer a fresh perspective on life – and a welcome pair of hands so the mums, dads and carers can have a hot cup of tea!”
Michelle Rozier runs GroW which holds sessions in Grove, East Challow and at the Beacon in Wantage. She said the unique feature of Friday mornings at Elmbrook Court is the interaction between young and old. “It’s a lovely space for the parents and children to come to but what makes these sessions really special is seeing the children and the residents having fun together. We are seeing bonds forming between toddlers who regularly attend and the residents.
“One of our members gets to see her grandad each week as he lives here, and he spends time with her and his great-granddaughter. “We bring toys so the residents can play with the children, we often have a bubble machine and finish off by singing nursery rhymes which everyone joins in with. “To see the smiles on the residents’ faces is really lovely!”
Sue is hopeful that Margaret’s language development will continue thanks to the stimulation she receives at Elmbrook Court.
“I cannot praise the home highly enough for all the activities they organise. It’s of great comfort to our family to know that Mum leads such a happy, safe and varied life at Elmbrook Court and there is no doubt that spending time with the children is playing an important part in the recuperation of her speech.”
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