• Dawn Short

Age is just a number!!

Our oldest dancer in our class is 101 and our youngest is 15 months!!.

I have been running WiggleTots classes at Paddock hill Care Home (as well as other locations in Sheffield) for nearly a year. Within this 12 months period I have seen both the older adults and the children's confidence grow. The children enjoy to dance with the residents and have built some lovely relationships. They are able to give their older class mates props to dance with, they chat with them, sit with them & play. This relationship has taken a few months to build but is wonderful to see. The same residents and children attend each week so they are familiar to each other and the older adults do remember the children.

As I enter the room each week to set up the class, the residents acknowledge me and say "Hello", but when the children arrive with their parents the residents faces light up. They smile, they clap their hands with joy and there is an excitement in the room.

One resident age 84 stated "I love it when the children come as it makes me feel young again! Doreen

The staff encourage the residents to dance with the toddlers and are fantastic at joining in, although some residents need no encouragement and love to dance.

Paddock Hill staff have said that the older adults are more physically active when in class with the toddlers, they tap their feet more, they smile more, they interact more and use more language. They also remember the session and look forward to it, which is so positive since most of the residents suffer from dementia. Some of the associated problems of dementia are memory loss, low mood, difficulties with movement and language. For more information about dementia click on the NHS website HERE

One of the parents stated that "Olly is more confident & the sessions are helping him develop his motor and social skills. He is getting more ambitious and learning a lot more" Annabel

This is one of my favorite classes of the week. It brings so much joy to the residents and the children have so much fun. Some children don't have any contact with older relatives so it maybe the only contact they have. I hope that this inter-generational class is braking down some stereotypes of the elderly, as the children just see them as class mates, where walking sticks and frames are not something to be afraid of, where age doesn't matter. Their class mates are fun, they know how to enjoy themselves, they can still dance and laugh. #ageisjustanumber

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