Orquidea says: “Some of the children like to take rides on the walkers and visit residents in their rooms who may be unable to join the group. One particular little girl likes to sit on a resident’s knees, as she plays the piano. It’s those shared moments that residents really treasure.”
Carolyn Berridge, Baby Buddies team leader and local Point Chevalier mum who attends the weekly sessions with her toddler, Sam, says: “This regular contact with the little ones brings back a lot of memories for residents of raising their own children. Many were mothers and fathers before there were things like formula and disposable nappies, so they’re always interested to hear how times have changed. Friday mornings have become a really special time for residents, mums and the young ones alike.”
The benefits of the initiative equally extend to the Baby Buddy visitors, as such intergenerational relationships are a wonderful way for children to get an understanding of history, context and perspective. They also help with socialisation and teaching the children how to interact with people different to themselves. For the mums, the visits offer a change of routine and the opportunity to meet others.
“It’s a fact that children benefit from having older people in their lives to help them gain a sense of self-identification. An older person can also meet a child’s need for someone to idolise and look up to. And, of course, such admiration and affection also provide an enormous boost for the older person,” says Orquidea.
Anyone interested in further information on setting up a Baby Buddies programme within an aged care environment can contact Orquidea Mortera at email@example.com.