80+ year age gap no barrier for Selwyn Village residents and their ‘Baby Buddy’ visitors

Residents at Selwyn Village’s rest homes are playing host to mums and their bubs as part of an inspirational ‘Baby Buddies’ visiting programme which is bringing fun, spontaneity, variety and new friendships to the benefit of the residents, their young visitors and the mums alike.

For the past 18 months, Auckland’s Selwyn Village has been hosting weekly visits by a joyful group of local Plunket mothers and their babies and toddlers, as part of The Selwyn Foundation‘s unique and holistic approach to providing care and promoting the wellbeing of its residents. During the hour-long, fun-packed sessions, residents read books to the children, help them with arts, crafts and pre-school learning activities, share stories or encourage their young visitors in their singing and dancing performances.

The Foundation’s Registered Diversional Therapist at Selwyn Village, Orquidea Mortera, has been overseeing the programme and says: “There’s something so special about how the little ones and the residents connect. Some of our residents don’t have grandchildren of their own, so these visits can be very uplifting.

“Our residents enjoy a greater sense of belonging and community after spending time with the children. The visits definitely lift people’s spirits and add to the enjoyment of life, inspiring a sense of optimism – and youthfulness even!  They’re a great talking point with everyone for the rest of the day,” she says. 

Selwyn’s residents look forward to welcoming the Baby Buddies and their mums into their homes each week and take an active part in the fun and games.  Kerridge House rest home resident, Erick Deverick, says: “The children definitely keep us busy. They go around singing songs – it’s lovely.”  Liz Raphael of Caswell House rest home comments: “It’s delightful to see everyone interacting with the babies and toddlers and their mums.”

Since communicating with young children inspires spontaneous engagement, enthusiasm and joy, the visits help alleviate some of the effects of age-related conditions; the residents and children encourage one another in the shared activities and obviously enjoy each others’ company.

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