Steve, our marketing manager, went along to a Teddy Bears’ Picnic at his daughter’s school, and took a special guest along with him…
It’s not very often I get the chance to escape the office for a while, so it was a delight to spend the afternoon with my daughter Daisy (pictured!) at her school’s Teddy Bears’ Picnic. Not only did we eat sandwiches, drink juice and have (lots!) of cake, we also brought along a special guest; my friend from the Unforgettable office, Arthur.
For those who haven’t seen Arthur before, he is a special musical bear that combines the benefits of music and cuddles. Sitting on our picnic blanket, it was very special to see so many children with their bears and various other cuddly friends. It also struck me how much similarities there were between the children at the picnic and those who benefit from a teddy like Arthur, such as those living with dementia.
The power of cuddles
Cuddle therapy can bring great joy to people living with dementia, enabling them to feel safe, express love and care and unlock strong maternal or paternal instincts (men like to cuddle too!). Cuddle therapy also provides meaning and purpose and can boost self-worth, even in the later stages of dementia. For children, it can lower anxiety, releases oxytocin and help them manage their stress levels.
The power of music
The amazing benefits of music for people with memory loss and dementia are widely recognised. Many find it can help them to relax, improve their mood, boost confidence, ease anxiety and spark happy memories and conversations. For children, music helps them learn the sounds and meaning of words, develops motor skills and helps them get ready for school.
A Teddy Bears’ Picnic is also a fantastic care home activity, as well as an enjoyable day for school children. Residents in a care home can enjoy tea and picnic food, learn about the origins of the Teddy Bear, listen to music from their childhood and reminisce about cuddly toys from their childhood, and how they got their names. Some care homes often invite children along, as pairing children and older people is mutually beneficial.
Daisy and I enjoyed our afternoon and listening to music from Arthur. Although her choices for songs were perhaps a bit more modern than the songs he usually plays (Little Mix and The Greatest Showman Soundtrack anyone?!) he’s certainly happy to play all types of music. And ultimately, it doesn’t matter what genre of music you listen to, as long as it makes you happy.
And what did Arthur think about his afternoon? Well, he didn’t say (being a bear and all), but I think he enjoyed his time at the picnic a lot, almost as much as he enjoys giving cuddles and making people smile.