Photo: Channel 4

Dr Melrose Stewart was one of the three experts involved in an ambitious and exciting intergenerational experiment, ‘Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds’, due to be screened on Channel 4 at 9pm on the 1st and 2nd of August 2017. It follows the daily lives of ten four-year-olds over six weeks beginning with their meeting with some unusual classmates, 11 pensioners. They share their classroom and follow the same timetable in a retirement village set in Bristol.

The experiment was inspired by a similar scheme set up 25 years ago in the US, but this is the first time in the UK that an inter-generational experiment has been established to measure the impact on the health and happiness of older people. As part of the experiment, the older group undergo tests to measure mood and memory. Also, Dr Stewart, a Chartered Physiotherapist, undertakes measurements of their mobility during the time they spend with the young children. The team wanted to find out whether a situation where four-year-olds and 84-year-olds work and play together could improve the health and happiness of the older group to any significant extent.

The question is: Could this ambitious experiment transform the way Britain cares for its increasingly older population?

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