This inter-generational friendship project helping parents and older people needs some help.
You may not have heard of The Together Project. It’s a national charity that aims to boost wellbeing and reduce loneliness through intergenerational experiences.
In other words, it brings young and old people together to share wisdom, laugh and increase all the participants’ happiness levels.
One of the activities the charity provides is Songs & Smiles, an intergenerational music group aimed at 0-4-year-olds, their grown-ups and older people, held in care homes and assisted living schemes.
By combining music and movement with the presence of young children, Songs & Smiles sessions can have a magical, transformative effect on older people living in care homes – reducing loneliness and isolation, lifting mood and even improving cognitive and motor skills.
But there are other benefits too. One new parent got some invaluable advice from an older person. “I was having trouble putting my daughter down in her Moses basket after she fell asleep in my arms,” they say. “Gert took me to one side and suggested I cuddled my daughter on the mattress of the Moses basket, then put her down. This was a revelation, I managed to get a few minute peace, my daughter was warm and snuggled – and no tears!”
So Songs & Smiles ends up being a source of support for parents/guardians as well. And the Together Project needs more dads.
Parenthood can sometimes be a bit lonely as we all know, but fathers are often loathe to engage in activities. This ends up being a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy – the dads don’t want to go because they think it’s going to be all mums, so they don’t go and it is all mums.
The Together Project wants to try and change that, helping dads to meet new people across different age groups and know they’re contributing towards something valuable.
Check out the website for more details and give it a whirl. You’ll want someone to visit you when you’re in the care home yourself!