"So much joy, so much hope"
Ever thought of running your Parent-Child Mother Goose program inside a residential care service?
Earlier this year, just this idea occurred to Heather MacLean, prompted by Heather's own dual roles as facilitator of a Parent-Child Mother Goose program in Hamilton, Victoria, and a regular volunteer at The Grange, a local residential care service.
Heather hoped that her Mother Goose families and residents at The Grange might both benefit if she was to run a typical Mother Goose session inside The Grange occasionally, with residents participating too.
Heather and her co-facilitator Amanda Adamson have now run two of these sessions at The Grange, and everyone agrees the idea has been a great success.
"We have a lot of small 'nuclear' families in our Parent-Child Mother Goose program," Heather says. "These families can feel quite a loss of connection with older people, but as we discovered through our first visit, they very much welcomed the opportunities for this kind of contact."
Heather says the residents enjoyed participating in the songs, and then later, when the Mother Goose session had ended and the toys were brought out, the children loved showing these to the residents and talking about them together. Residents' families particularly appreciated seeing photos of these occasions, which the Western District Health Service posted on their Facebook page.
"Watching the children doing the hokey-pokey, then watching them afterwards playing with their toys — things like this brought back such feelings of nostalgia for the residents, and really warmed their hearts," Amanda says.
Amanda noted down some of the residents' comments verbatim:
Heather says the heartfelt nature of these responses from residents surprised even herself, and she is keen to maintain the contact, perhaps termly or perhaps two or three times a year.
Heather's advice for anyone else considering following in her footsteps?
"Try to time your visit so there's the least chance of anyone having the sniffles," Heather says. "But don't hold back. Give it a go!"