Intergenerational care centers offer a distinctive setting for collective interactions, where the knowledge of senior generations intersects with the enthusiasm of the younger ones.
The elderly have a very deep bond with young children. On one hand, they provide them with age-old wisdom, on the other, the children breathe fresh lives into their mundane routines. Elizabeth Schmidt—who goes by @eanderson8295 on Instagram—experienced the same and she captured the precious moment between her daughter, Josie, and a resident of a senior and memory care facility, as they engage in singing, dancing and laughter. What makes this interaction truly special is that Josie's school integrates with this senior living and memory care facility, fostering intergenerational learning and play.
In her caption, Schmidt beautifully articulates the profound impact of this unique integration: "It has been such a gift to watch her bring joy and laughter to the residents and to watch her spirit blossom through getting to know them. She has an incredibly special bond with her 'grandmas and grandpas' upstairs. I am proud of the sweet, silly, wonderful little person she is." This heartwarming clip has garnered a plethora of comments, with many echoing the sentiment that bringing young children and seniors together is a concept that should be embraced more widely.
One user @_kate_bakes_cakes_ wrote, "I think that kindergartens and facilities for elderly people should only be built together," highlighting the remarkable benefits of such coexistence. Another commenter @cynthiaalockyer shared a touching personal story, stating, "Doctors said my great grandma who had dementia would not likely have lived as long if my little cousins weren't living in the same house, bringing her joy and giving her a reason to keep going. I like to think these kids are doing the same for those old folks."
Intergenerational programs, as endorsed by Generations United, offer a multitude of advantages for individuals of all ages. These programs unite different generations for planned activities aimed at achieving specific program goals and promoting greater understanding and respect between age groups. Research has substantiated the myriad benefits of intergenerational connections. Young children, for instance, learn empathy and enhance their cooperative play skills. These relationships also show potential in reducing signs of depression and substance abuse in young children. For older adults, the advantages are equally significant. The profound sense of isolation and loneliness that often plagues seniors significantly diminishes through interactions with younger generations.
In fact, 92% of Americans believe that intergenerational activities have the potential to reduce loneliness across all age groups. Studies further reveal that seniors who spend time with younger generations experience an improved quality of life, a heightened sense of purpose, enhanced self-worth and self-esteem, cognitive health improvement, increased strength and balance and the development of leadership proficiencies.
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One viewing of Schmidt's heartwarming video is a testament to the transformative power of intergenerational care centers. They are not only changing lives but also bringing immense good to the world. The demand for such centers is evident and their positive impact on society cannot be overstated. It's a compelling reminder that we need more initiatives like these to bridge generational gaps, break down barriers and create a more inclusive and compassionate world.