On Saturday 12 April 2008, children from the BAPS London Children’s Forum with the BAPS Community Care Team based at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, visited two elderly residential homes in the Brent borough of London. Care for the elderly is a very important part of BAPS’ on-going community outreach programme, and this event also helped inculcate the values of respect and consideration in its younger members.
Children with the supervision of adult Team members visited two elderly care homes, The Mayfield and Carlton House, meeting and interacting with a total of 41 residents of various ethnic origins.
The children sang devotional songs and performed a traditional Indian cultural dance. The residents thoroughly enjoyed the performance and enthusiastically joined in the fun by clapping and playing musical instruments.
After the performance, the children had a chance to interact with the residents individually. This was an opportunity for the children to bridge the generation gap and implement communication skills they had been taught at the Mandir in their Children’s Forum classes. The children, some of whom were participating for the first time, clearly found it a very rewarding and enjoyable learning experience. Meanwhile, supervisors of the BAPS Community Care Team observed the residents’ needs for personal interaction and noted how they could better train the children to meet those needs.
All of the elderly residents were very appreciative of the young for taking time out on a Saturday afternoon to visit them. For many like Saida Kazmi (78), who very rarely ventures outdoors, the visit became the highlight of the week. Carers were also very grateful to the children for lifting their residents’ spirits.
The BAPS Community Care Team has since been invited by the homes to make the visit a regular event.