Pint-size pumpkins and mini monsters made a memorable Halloween for residents at our Woodland Grove Care Home recently

The Tiny Talk baby signing class came to visit Woodland Grove Care Home in Essex recently. Children aged from six months to three years sang nursery rhymes with the residents and practised basic sign language to help develop their communication. It was the first time in many years that some of our residents had had a chance to play and interact with small children.

Our Home Manager, Hazel McGwyne said the visit made a lasting impression: “Many of our residents are living with dementia so although they enjoy the activities we offer here, the memories of what they’ve done don’t necessarily stay with them.

“But the children had such an impact – not just the immediate pleasure the residents got from spending time with them in the session.”

A Memorable Morning

It was particularly memorable for 96-year-old resident, Irene Whitt, who lives with dementia. She can’t normally remember the activities she’s enjoyed but she was keen to tell her daughter all about the Halloween visit when she came to see Irene the next day.

Woodland Grove Care Home hosts Tiny Talk Halloween Class
96-year-old Irene Whitt enjoyed interacting at the Tiny Talk session

Hazel continued: “It was quite amazing! To see Irene chatting about the visit and saying how much she enjoyed it was wonderful. We can’t wait to see what their next visit will bring for her.”

Resident Sue Day, 69, also enjoyed the visit, she said: “It was so lovely to see babies. My grandchildren are quite a bit older than that now. I didn’t want the children to leave, I’m very much looking forward to them coming again.”

Positive effects on older people

Research shows activities shared by both young and the elderly have positive effects for older people in residential care, giving them a sense of purpose and improving self-esteem.

Woodland Grove plans to welcome the children every six weeks and Tiny Talk group leader, Leanne Barsdell, said the children benefited too.

“It was great to watch their confidence grow during the session, and them become more comfortable with people who are not family members.

“The parents who took part have already asked when are we coming back here! We’ll be looking at how we can get the residents even more involved next time and build relationships between the generations.”

Woodland Grove Care Home hosts Tiny Talk Halloween Class
Edith Girling and Joan Hall delight in the company of one year old William Talaie and his dad Mohammed

Find out more about Woodland Grove.