Fishing for your friends

Enthusiastic participants hooked by intergenerational initiative

Alyssa Bruce with fishing buddy Ian and, below, with her catch of the day

When Westbank Care Home in Oldmeldrum received an offer from the Inspectorate’s Care About Physical Activity (CAPA) team they really took the bait – and now they have a promising intergenerational fishing project under way.

Manager Liane Bruce explained: “Shona Omand-Smith at CAPA contacted us this summer to ask if any of our residents liked fishing. We found two, Ian Reid and Douglas Hourston, who were keen, and Shona suggested an intergenerational activity.

Keen to take up the idea, Liane contacted the nearby Lochter Activity Centre, which has its own fishery. The Centre staff were very happy to help and able to provide all the necessary equipment.

Liane’s daughter Alyssa and a neighbour, Ruaridh McInnes – both 12 years old – were eager to be involved. The first session subsequently took place on 31 August.

“It went really well,” said Liane. “They ended up learning and chatting together. Everyone got on well and Ian and Douglas, who both use a wheelchair, were very positive afterwards. They were delighted that both children caught a fish each. They felt that they’d helped, which made it a win for everybody.”

A second trip has already taken place and the plan is to undertake four initial sessions, weather permitting.

“It’s important to promote understanding between the generations,” said Liane. “We need to guard against isolation among older people and let children know how their actions can impact on older people.

“In this case we’ve seen real friendships building. Notably, the sessions represent what could be described as a normal life experience, which is exactly what we are trying to give residents.”

Meanwhile, another intergenerational project has been lined up. Promoting action on dementia will see art students from Oldmeldrum Academy work with residents to create a “pledge” tree on a wall in the home