Bridging the Gap: How 4 Year Olds are Positively Impacting the Elderly

Bridging the gap between generations has always been a challenge.  Today with advanced technology it seems the gap is even wider as the younger generation have an increasingly tough time staying focused on anything but a mobile device.

Recently a project to help transform this issue began in Bristol, UK.  And it didn’t initially bring cheer to the residents there who were quite horrified at the suggestion that they follow the same schedule as four-year-old kindergartners.

But some of them – such as 89-year-old care-home resident Hamish Hall – eventually reluctantly agreed to participate. And then for six weeks, he did the same as a bunch of four-year olds.  Why?  The idea – based on studies in the US – is that by engaging with younger kids in their classroom environment, their very own physical, social and emotional wellbeing improves and even leads to lengthening of their life!

Hamish was converted by the program.  In the beginning he was very unsure as they “behaved as four-year-olds do,” and given that Hamish has been an amputee since he was 15-years-old, he was extremely nervous as he thought the kids would want to jump around with him and get down on the ground – something he can’t do.

But that wasn’t the case.  It was evident after a short while that Hamish’s grumpy face started changing to a smiley one and at some point even launched onto the floor so he could pretend to be a sleeping lion!” what was really fun was pretending he was going to eat them as they jumped off chairs onto the bean bags. He got so into it and here is the video!

Hamish made emotional connections too as the kids became attached to him and formed a relationship. He added that he would certainly do it again!