HC-One care homes across the UK are celebrating Global Intergenerational Week, from 25th April to 1st May 2022, taking part in a pen-pal befriending scheme run by charity Young People of the Year (YOPEY).
Global Intergenerational Week is a week-long campaign which HC-One has celebrated for the past three years, connecting people of all ages to build connections, form meaningful friendships, and take part in activities to enhance wellbeing.
Residents across HC-One’s homes enjoy sharing letters, artwork and activities with young people as part of the YOPEY charity project. YOPEY recruit young people from schools and spend time teaching them how to become a YOPEY befriender, supporting them to relate to individuals living with dementia and how to establish intergenerational friendships.
HC-One’s collaboration with YOPEY has provided numerous benefits for both Residents in HC-One homes and the young people involved in the YOPEY initiative: they all enjoy the opportunity to share experiences and stories and learn a lot from each other. The friendships they have forged increase understanding and respect between older and younger generations, reducing and tackling issues around stereotyping and ageism.
At Colton Lodges Care Home in Leeds, West Yorkshire, the home’s Wellbeing Team are supporting Residents to communicate with young people as part of the YOPEY pen-pal project. Residents enjoy reminiscing about different topics in their communication with young people, and this has inspired greater interaction within the home as Colleagues and Residents enjoy spending time chatting about their past experiences while writing letters together.
Charlotte Brown, Wellbeing Coordinator at Colton Lodges Care Home said:
“I would 100% recommend intergenerational projects like YOPEY to others. It helps provide a sense of connection within our team and Residents. I also believe it’s important for Residents to be involved with projects with the younger generation, as it’s good for them to learn about the differences in their generation and the younger generations, and how things are for young people now. Talking to different generations expands everyone’s knowledge and experiences.”
Tony Gearing MBE, Founder & Chief Executive, YOPEY – the Young People of the Year charity said:
“The charity YOPEY has worked with HC-One’s care homes since the first lockdown when our young volunteers, known as YOPEY Befrienders, recognised elderly people in care homes would need support because their friends and family could not visit them. Since then, YOPEY Befrienders have been writing letters, compiling activities such as word searches, videoing themselves singing songs from yesteryear, and sharing their artworks to entertain Residents and forge connections. Similarly, the young people love to receive replies from HC-One’s Residents.
“Hopefully in the future, YOPEY and HC-One will be able to take this Intergenerational project a stage further and have YOPEY Befrienders visit Residents in some of their homes.”
Taking part in Global Intergenerational Week is part of HC-One’s wider programme of activities and projects designed to support Residents to connect with younger generations. HC-One’s partnership with Together with Music, a national music programme led by Intergenerational Music Making (IMM), enables Residents in HC-One homes across the UK to take part in virtual music-based activities and sessions with local community groups such as schools.
Lawra Baumane, Quality of Life Specialist at HC-One commented:
“At HC-One, as we are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important now more than ever that we develop and celebrate relationships between generations to rebuild our communities, improve health and mental wellbeing, and reduce loneliness and isolation.
“We are always looking for new ideas, practice and opportunities to engage our Residents with young generations to build strong connections and friendships and share resources the generations have to offer to each other.”