BABIES and toddlers have had a play date with dementia patients in Swindon as a form of therapy.

The 14 youngsters, aged from six to 18 months, visited residents at Orchards Care Home in Haydon Wick to play with bubble machines and dance to music, with help from their parents, organised by the charity Hartbeeps.

Research has shown the benefits of intergenerational care, whereby dementia patients interact with children and young people, to help lift their mood and improve their overall wellbeing.

The play date used sensory activities such as bubble machines and parachutes for the children and residents to engage with.

Marie Henshall, the activities coordinator at the care home, told the Adver: "The residents interacted wonderfully with the children.

"We had bubble machines going so they were both popping them with the residents and music so they were dancing in their chairs.

"It was a really fun-filled packed afternoon and it puts a smile on their faces. It was a beautiful thing to see the children playing with the patients."

The age of the youngsters was actually a key reason for helping the residents relax and enjoy some social time.

"As you can imagine some children can be quite frightened, but when they are young they don't mind at all," added Marie.

"As the residents get older it just brings back memories of when they used to have children, and some of them still think they have them.

"On occasions they think have to go and collect them from school sometimes."

The care home is now looking at booking the charity to come in again for a second event over Easter.

Sadie Ditchburn, the franchise owner of Hartbeeps Wiltshire, added: "The babies were loving it, it's lovely to see everyone coming together across the generations and to see the family's faces."

Hartbeeps organises music sessions and parties with children and their parents across the UK.