Reading Rooms takes residents ‘seaside’ for National Care Home Open Day

Verbal’s Reading Rooms celebrated National Care Home Open Day with a inter-generational session last Friday at Seven Oaks Dementia Unit, with children aged 2-10 joining residents to hear about Paddington’s Adventures at the Seaside by national favourite, Michael Bond. Sinead Devine, Reading Rooms Officer for Older People, reports from the day.

The story allowed both the children and the residents to join in the conversation. The children told us all about their holidays in the sun at the beach although many of the holidays were taken abroad. One lucky family had just returned from Ibiza. In contrast residents usually went to the seaside only once a year as an annual treat. Many went on the train or the bus rather than in cars and had to save hard for the trip. Favourite beaches included Portstewart and Benone on the Antrim coast as well as Fahan and Lisfannon in Co Donegal. Both residents and the children knew all about Paddington Bear and were delighted when he made a visit and brought his suitcase to Seven Oaks.

At the end of the session one resident noted that the session was “just lovely with the children”. Another resident noted that “it was good to remember going to the beach. I often went to Benone as a child and it was like going on a trip back”. One visitor with her family said “It was a wonderful visit and was enjoyed by both my children and the residents”

The Open Day at Seven Oaks also had music, flower arranging, face painting and a petting farm. The Open Day encouraged visitors as well as staff to bring their children along and link with the residents together. One staff member said “It is great for my children to see where mum works but all the activities help make this work so well. It made the visit exciting for all of us and it was lovely to connect together using the story.”

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