Freda Snaith - Activities Coordinator

Enhancing the Quality of Life of Our Residents through an Inspirational Art and Movement Class

It is our mission to enhance the quality of life for older people. We believe that a fulfilling life is one that nourishes an individual’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs. It is important that all our houses have a sense of community and companionship for their residents to ensure feelings of loneliness and isolation are alleviated.

Resident interaction at Abbeyfield House

“We like to offer our residents mental and physical stimulation and we do it in a caring and supportive way. Our sessions include bowls, bingo, knitting, crosswords, local outings and a weekly church service within the home. This gets them out of their room, socialising and being pro-active.”

At our Abbeyfield home in Alnwick we can see this in action. The activities coordinator, Freda Snaith has a full and comprehensive programme of activities on offer for our residents and to help improve their quality of life.

One of the most notable sessions held in the house is the weekly art and movement class:

The Project

Emma Hardman is a dance and movement practitioner and with Freda and local artist Helen Ellis they have been running sessions for residents for a number of years.

The sessions involve dance and movement as well as other creative exercises and often bring in professionals who work in the arts to both talk about and demonstrate what they do.

Emma and Helen have also been running similar sessions with the reception class at the local primary school. As a one-off they made the decision to bring the two groups together but, because it worked so well, the joint sessions have continued.

Special bonds are formed between participants and Freda talks about how the residents look forward to seeing the children every week. She also notes the enthusiasm and excitement that flows through the house when the sessions are on too.

“It is pure enjoyment for all involved. You can see on the faces of the children that they love coming and they have their own ‘Special Friends’ amongst the residents. The residents’ roles have changed from needing help to giving help.”

Inter-generational volunteering projects at Abbeyfield

During the week, the residents spend time making things that can be used during their sessions with the children.

At present, they are sewing a blanket that can be used for the children to sit on at snack time and previously silk scarves were carefully painted which were then used for a fun throwing and catching game that explored movement.

The residents love showing off their creations to the children and because the items have a practical purpose this all goes towards an increased sense of usefulness.

The Benefits

This type of intergenerational practice is known to bring benefits to both groups as well as creating better community cohesion.

In this case, the benefits are obvious to all involved. Our residents have a new sense of purpose as well as increased mental and physical stimulation.

“It is wonderful! Any involvement with schools is going to be good on both sides. The elderly love to see the children and it is amazing how lively they can be!”

We know that everybody has an intrinsic value and worth and should be supported to live in dignity and with respect and this is a clear example of one way that we help to enhance the quality of life for older people.


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