In some other parts of the world, there seems to be integration between children and elderly where various facilities bring these groups together.
There seems to be a benefit that children have on elderly and positive outcomes when the two groups come together to learn various things or embark on different activities together. Here’s one such example.
In Singapore, the government seems to be slowly warming up to the idea as there has been talk about having common areas where children and elderly can come together.
MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling said that simple things such as building a children’s playground and senior citizens’ fitness corner next to each other can be effective.
On Saturday, I saw for myself the joy that children can bring to elderly. Our friend brought together seven children dressed as little santas and elves to bring Christmas cheer to elderly at Bright Hill Ever Green Home.
We visit the elderly at Bright Hill Ever Green Home’s dementia ward from time to time and, I have never seen them smile wider than on Saturday. They were so thrilled to see the children.
People living with dementia sometimes enjoy having dolls. One of the elderly who was holding onto a doll gave it up as he was so excited to see my friend’s baby.
Through engaging with elderly, children get to discover differences in people and learn how to care for others. I noticed that the children were apprehensive at first. But, they slowly warmed up to elderly.
Bringing children and elderly together may seem like having the best of both worlds but it may not exactly be the case. Our friend was very kind in letting the elderly engage and play with her baby but I’m certain that not all will be so open to such forms of engagement in Singapore.
Especially with dementia, parents may be concerned that elderly can get violent with children. I’m not exactly sure about how the rules of engagement should be. But, it was really a joy to watch both groups interact.