There is an old African proverb that reads ‘It Takes a Village To Raise a Child,” which alludes to the fact that everyone in a child’s life needs to play a part in keeping this child healthy and safe; while true, what that proverb does not make mention of, is the benefits that a child can bring to the rest of a community – especially the older individuals.
Watching from afar, there is truly something magical about the change in mood and mindset that occurs when an elderly person is presented the chance to interact with a baby.
Parental instincts take hold so quickly and naturally that it almost seems as if they travel back in time and find themselves at the point in their lives where they were raising their own children, and there is an undeniable warmth that radiates from the eyes as they assess and admire the infant in their arms.
These type of meaningful interactions have the power to trigger a lifetime’s worth of positive memories for an elderly person, while the baby itself begins to learn the foundations of confidence and social skills from these types of interactions.
While it’s extremely common for many nursing home residents to be grandparents, the residents of Baptistcare’s Gracehaven Residential Care in Rockingham, W.A, all share the unique honour of being the adoptive grandparents to a beautiful baby girl named Pyper.
Two-month-old Pyper Nancy Winter currently has 98 residents at the Gracehaven facility showering her with attention, and that includes Pyper’s mother Zoe Jordan, and Pyper’s grandmother Kim Jordan, who both work at the facility.
Zoe (Pyper’s mother) arrived on Australian Shores from Northern Ireland in 2008 and began working at the Gracehaven facility as a volunteer when she was still just a teenager and has since become a qualified Allied Health Assistant and works alongside her mother Kim.
Kim (Pyper’s grandmother) is a Lifestyle Coordinator at Gracehaven, which eventually became like a second home for her family, and she has nothing but positive things to say about the experience of seeing her newly born granddaughter at work.
“I am very happy to “share” my granddaughter because it is so good to see the residents so engaged and involved whenever Pyper comes to visit,” she said.
“For many of them, the memories they hold most clearly are of the distant past and a new baby has helped many residents to capture those precious moments they had as parents.”
Pyper’s mother Zoe has been overwhelmed with the support that she has received from residents, as many of them tried their hand at suggesting names for the baby and trying to guess the birth weight.
“I have known a lot of the residents for many years, so it only seemed natural to share my pregnancy with everybody. In fact, a few people guessed that I was pregnant even before I knew myself,” said Zoe.
“I had my gender reveal party at Baptistcare Gracehaven which was a lovely event and I was showered with some beautiful hand-made baby clothes, blankets, and wraps.”
“It was wonderful to have so many residents cheering me on every step of the way, offering advice and being an active part of the process.”
Although Zoe is still currently on maternity leave, she still calls into Baptistcare Gracehaven twice a week with baby Pyper, and according to Pyper’s grandmother Kim, residents enquire about her throughout the week and look forward to seeing her as much as possible.