Fortrose Academy & BIC – intergenerational work, May 2017

“Time is on my side,”

..sing those old rockers, the Rolling Stones.  My goodness though, it sure passes quickly.

One minute you were young and impatient with life; the next you’re struggling at the Co-op counter, trying to find the right change; aware that you’re holding up the queue behind you.

In a new venture, Black Isle Cares partnered up with Fortrose Academy to explore different aspects of caring.  The fancy word for it is: ‘intergenerational working’.  Really it’s about creating an opportunity for different ages to experience each other’s company, and take pleasure in learning from each other.

Over a span of 4 weeks, BIC have been working in the Academy with a group of students. We’ve been exploring issues to do with ageing and getting old.

On the first week we looked at stereotypes of old and young people and how we thought people viewed us at different ages.  We also heard the life experiences of BIC treasurer, Peter Furniss; who described his life, growing up after the war.

In the second session, lead by Nurse Consultant in Alzheimer’s disease from NHS Highland and Dr Leah Macadan from Stirling University, the students experienced what it was like to ‘feel old’.  This was achieved through a range of exercises including, wearing lenses that mimicked macular degeneration or cataracts, and being blindfolded and undergoing various scent tests.

On the third week the students went out on a Meals on Wheels round with our fantastic volunteers.  The customers were very pleased with the young students visiting them, it was a real success.

And on the fourth week the school pupils put on a lunch for some of our elderly friends which was joyfully consumed by young and old alike.

This was a thoroughly collaborative venture between BIC, Fortrose Academy, Highland Senior Citizens Network, Stirling University and NHS Highland.

This intergenerational work will be continuing between BIC and the surrounding schools.  We will continue to develop and refine our delivery of this.

It’s joyful and vital work.  We certainly had a lot of fun…

Feedback from the pupils:

  • I loved eating the soup with everyone
  • I enjoyed it; it was really good to see everyone come
  • It was really good
  • This was good because we got to socialise with older people
  • Was very interesting – interested in the older folks lives

Thanks to all who participated.  Mostly thanks to the students and staff of Fortrose Academy for their lovely welcome and hard work.

Brian Devlin, Chair of Black Isle Cares

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British Medical Journal article – a collaboration between nurseries and care homes.

With all the intergenerational work going on between BIC and the local schools at the minute, it’s encouraging to read an article in the British Medical Journal discussing meetings between care homes and childcare providers, held by United for all ages:

Care homes and childcare providers in the UK are taking only baby steps towards collaboration, says Stephen Burke, director of United for All Ages, an organisation that campaigns for stronger communities by bringing people of different ages together.

BMJ 2017;357:j1862

http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1862

The article discusses the success stories of merging nurseries and care homes, in either sharing property or getting together for activities.  Examples can be found in the US and Australia.

In both places adults reported higher levels of self-esteem and felt that they were a part of society again.  Also, in socialising young children and the elderly this can help to break through the barriers of ageism.

We hope to see these merges and changes happening over the UK in the next few years.

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