In Seattle, Washington, there is the Intergenerational Learning Center, which is home to more than 400 elderly residents. It is also a preschool.
It is an award-winning child care program located within Providence Mount St. Vincent in West Seattle.
Five days a week, the children interact with the elderly in a variety of planned activities, such as music, dancing, art, lunch, storytelling, or just visiting.
The Intergenerational Learning Center says on their website that this benefits both the young and the elderly.
For the children, it offers opportunities to:
- learn about the normal aging process;
- accept people with disabilities;
- be involved with people who are two or three generations apart;
- become part of an extended family;
- help them reduce their fear of older adults; and
- receive and give unconditional and unbounded love and attention.
The benefits for the elderly are:
- frequent interaction with children throughout their day;
- physical activity in playing with the children;
- opportunities to play, laugh, and enjoy the spirit and joy that children bring to their home environment;
- a renewed sense of self-worth;
- an opportunity to transfer knowledge; and
- the ability to serve as role models.
Sadly, 43 percent of older adults experience social isolation, which is closely connected with loneliness and depression, as well as mental and physical decline. The number of adults aged 65 years and older is expected to nearly double within the next 25 years.
Watch full video here.
It quite clear this program has enriched the lives of two of the most important age groups in our society, the young and the old.
I hope to see this program implemented in more places around the world.
I know I would send my children to a place like this.