Seniors Home Brings Young and Old Together
I would like to share with you a story from West Seattle, where there is an Intergenerational Learning Centre called “The Mount”.
The Mount is a licensed non-profit child-care centre and preschool established on the Mount’s premises in 1991. The program was designed to counterbalance the loneliness and boredom that we know is an issue in aged care facilities.
At the Mount, the average age is 92 and residents are largely frail, non-ambulatory and in need of significant assistance. Charlene Boyd, administrator at the centre, said “we wanted a living, vibrant community to make sure that this was a place where people came to live, not die”. There are 125 children and 400 elderly residents who come together five days a week. The two groups enjoy activities such as music, dancing, art, storytelling and they spend lunchtimes together. The centre has found many residents prone to confusion and depression, many diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s are engaged and lucid.
We know there are many studies that have linked social interaction with decreased loneliness, delayed mental decline, lower blood pressure and reduced risk of disease and death in the elderly. According to one Japanese study from 2013, socialising across generations has also been shown to increase the amount of smiling and conversations among older adults.
Whilst it’s unclear what kind of impact such social interaction has on children, research certainly suggests a variety of benefits for them as well. For example, children who have early contact with older people are less likely to view them as incompetent. Simply exposing children to positive depictions of elders makes them less likely to exhibit ageism.
Many of the parents of children attending “The Mount” will attest that the children feel more comfortable around those with disabilities and impairments of all kinds than their peers who lack such experiences.
There is a feature length documentary called “Present Perfect” that is currently in post-production and will be released sometime this year.
In the meantime check out the links to get a glimpse of how this terrific senior’s home brings young and old together.