Dozens of babies and toddlers dressed as pumpkins and monsters made a spooky visit to a care home this Halloween.

Members of the Tiny Talk baby signing class delighted Woodland Grove care home residents on Rectory Lane in Loughton on Thursday, October 31.

Youngsters aged from six months to three years, sang classic nursery rhymes and practised basic sign language with residents to help develop their communication.

It was the first time in several years that some of the pensioners had a chance to play and interact with small children.

Home manager, Hazel McGwyne, said the visit made a lasting impression: “Many of our residents are living with dementia so although they enjoy the activities we offer here, the memories of what they’ve done don’t necessarily stay with them.

“But the children had such an impact – not just the immediate pleasure the residents got from spending time with them in the session.”

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One-year-old William Talaie and his dad Mohammed sang nursery rhymes with the Woodland Grove residents.

The visit was particularly memorable for 96-year-old Irene Whitt, who lives with dementia, and was keen to tell her daughter about the Halloween visit.

“It was quite amazing,” said Ms McGwyne. “To see Irene chatting about the visit and saying how much she enjoyed it was wonderful. We can’t wait to see what their next visit will bring for her.”

Fellow resident 69-year-old Sue Day also enjoyed the visit as the only young people she regularly sees are her grandchildren.

“It was so lovely to see babies,” she said. “My grandchildren are quite a bit older than that now.

“I didn’t want the children to leave, I’m very much looking forward to them coming again.”

Research shows activities shared by both young and the elderly have positive effects for older people, giving them a sense of purpose and improved self-esteem.

Tiny Talk group leader, Leanne Barsdell, said they plan for the children to visit the care home every six weeks.

“It was great to watch their confidence grow during the session, and them become more comfortable with people who are not family members.

“We’ll be looking at how we can get the residents even more involved next time and build relationships between the generations.”