(Picture from Brading CE Primary School)
As part of the Age Friendly Communities project, The Intergenerational project within Age UK IW has been offering Age Friendly training in local schools. The work includes basic dementia awareness, challenging stereotypes, building awareness of the services older people use and sharing work on sensory loss, where children used simulation glasses to see how it feels.
At a recent awareness training session in a local Isle of Wight primary school, children performed Age Friendly training using the simulation glasses, audio defenders and guiding with blindfolds. The aim of the session was to increase the empathy, awareness and understanding of elderly people living with limitations, especially to their sight and hearing. The children also learnt sighted guide and went outside to perform this as an activity with a partner using blindfolds.
In another session, they were taught Dementia Awareness where the students could develop a greater understanding of the causes and effects of Dementia, and its prevalence within the elderly community. This was achieved through ‘recall’ tasks, describing items without using certain words, recognising the difference between factual and emotional memories, and developing the use of their own senses and understanding how this perception can change over time.
“First and foremost the children enjoyed the sessions and really engaged with the activities. The sessions provided a real insight into some of the challenges that elderly people may face with everyday tasks and they were able to empathise with those challenges. The sessions were truly thought provoking for the children and have challenged their concept of what being elderly might mean. Only a couple of children had a concept of what dementia is at the beginning of the sessions but all have a much greater understanding now.” Dover Park Primary School
At Dover Park Primary School the Intergenerational project is also working in partnership with Independent Arts (another Age Friendly Island project), once the children have developed a greater understanding about becoming elderly through their Age Friendly sessions, Independent Arts will run creative intergenerational writing classes with the same group and will also be organising a visit to a local care home, St Vincent’s in Ryde, later on in the term.
For more information on this work or to book a session for your school, please contact: Jack Wedderkop, Age Friendly Communities Development Officer (Intergenerational): email@example.com