Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: Improving the health and stability of society

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Mattie Fox

Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox

Flicking through the TV channels one night last week, I happened upon a very inciteful programme on ITV.

Reality TV programmes usually have little to do with any true reality, and usually not my cup of tea, but this one was exceptional.

It centered around the idea of integrating people living in a retirement village in UK with children from the local crèche/preschool.

Seán O’Súilleabháin’s book, ironically sums this up, when he says, “Children and adults cohabited in a seamless fashion and we all learned much from growing up in close harmony with our elders.

“There were few children of our own age which meant we were glad of adult company and we listened to and talked to our seniors with rapt attention.”

In a well structured and supervised homely environment the interaction of the young and the old was a joy to observe.

Friendships were formed, lessons were learned, memories were reactivated, fun was shared, skills were stopped and a whole new social life was developed - not just with the old and young but also between the residents of the retirement village who, up to them, had kept to themselves and been very lonely.

One little girl invited her new “grandad” to her birthday party, and announced that he had risen to the top position in her list of friends, thus demoting her little friends to 2nd and 3rd place!

It reminded me that such valuable relationships add to the health and stability of society and in the rat race of our modern times they can so easily be swept aside, and ignored.