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Preschoolers unite with elderly residents in dementia care home, sparking joy and hope

This modern-day care facility in England is bringing young children together to help slow down the progression of dementia in older residents.

Preschoolers unite with elderly residents in dementia care home, sparking joy and hope
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Ready Generations

Traditional elder care homes are widespread, yet the magic unfolds when these residents with various cognitive conditions engage with preschoolers. An innovative concept of bringing together the older and younger generations is changing the traditional method of care homes. According to Good News Network, Northwest England has introduced its first-ever intergenerational care village, which is targeted towards encouraging the older and younger generations to live and learn together.


Recently celebrating its grand opening, the facility aims to invigorate both mind and body, with preschoolers playing a key role in supporting their elder friends' journey through dementia. The facility is called Belong and it is a non-profit care operator that specializes in overseeing dementia-stricken patients. Belong has established care villages in the West Midlands region of England and is now opening its gates to the rest of the community and expanding its dementia-friendly environment.

The Lord Mayor of Cheshire, Shiela Little, was invited to declare that the care village is officially open to all. The facility is designed to ensure that its residents get to live their lives independently. Belong also partnered with a national charity named Ready Generations to keep the care village functional while they integrate the nursery children into the daily lives of the senior residents. The old and young folks spend their quality time together indulging in arts and crafts, exercising and sharing their mealtime. “It was a pleasure to look around the village and officially open Belong Chester and to meet staff and residents,” said Lord Mayor Sheila Little.


“This is a particularly exciting and innovative development as it includes a nursery, which benefits both the children who attend and the residents who visit to play and read to them. I look forward to visiting again to see how the village is growing and developing," she added. This facility breaks the mold of traditional care facilities for people with dementia and is actually spread across a $24.5 million, state-of-the-art area that includes six family-sized 24-hour care households, 23 independent living apartments and a nursery for children too.


The facility also provides a range of lucrative amenities such as a hair salon, specialist exercise studio and even a bistro which is open to the public who are interested in visiting the care village. The Chester division of the organization’s award-winning home care service, Belong at Home, is also based at the location. Belong is the 8th village established for people with dementia and the fourth of its kind in Cheshire County. Similar facilities are also found in Cheshire municipalities such as Crewe, Macclesfield, and Warrington.


This might be a first-of-its-kind care village in England but America has already done it several years ago when the Intergenerational Learning Center at Mount St. Vincent Nursing Home in Seattle opened its doors to let the oldest and the youngest interact in 2015. Here, 400 elderlies are thriving in the assisted-living facility where they are regularly joined by preschoolers to indulge in daily activities to stay sharp and lively. Filmmaker Evan Briggs also decided to make a documentary about this American center and it's called "Present Perfect." The documentary captures what Briggs called the “very real experience of aging in America—both growing up and growing old.”


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