'Telebuddies' Christmas special!

Published on: 28 Nov 2017

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Channel 4 is making  a festive return to the Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds this Christmas.

The one-hour special features a trip back to St Monica Trust’s Cote Lane retirement community on Durdham Downs and reunites the residents including Hamish, Zina, Pat and David, with some of their young friends from Bristol nurseries, including The Southville Centre, among them Solomon, Nelson, Millie and Eva. The aim is  to find out how taking part in the series has impacted their lives.

Social isolation is one of the biggest problems for the elderly and never more so than during the Christmas period. Loneliness can impact hugely on our health with a recent report saying it can be as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The two-part series which aired in August was inspired by a revolutionary American scheme which brought together a group of older people and a group of four year olds for a six week period to attempt to prove scientifically that these two generations can transform the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of the old volunteers for the better.

The Christmas Special looks at what has happened since the experiment ended. Are the older group still showing signs of progress? Did the friendships with the children and their families develop further?

In this festive special the older adults and children prepare for a festive Carol Service with their families as the guests of honour – and Santa Claus and his reindeers may also make a cameo appearance.

The three geriatric specialists – Professor Malcolm Johnson, Dr Zoe Wyrko and Dr Melrose Stewart – all return to give their insight into the continued progress of the older group as well as focussing on loneliness and its impact on the elderly paying particular attention to why Christmas is such a tough time for older people. 

Chief executive of St Monica Trust, David Williams said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome CPL and the children back to the Trust to film the Christmas Special. The Trust has worked in partnership with Age UK on a number of community initiatives in Bristol and we’re excited to be helping them spearhead this national campaign to highlight social isolation among the older population.”

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