PBS recently highlighted an intergenerational program in Seattle where a child care center for 125 children is operated within the Providence Mount St. Vincent nursing home. Here are a few insights from the video:
"All of us have common needs to be recognized. All of us have common needs to be loved, and all of us have common needs to share life together. And so these children bring life and vibrancy and normalcy. It's a gift. It's a gift in exposing young families to positive aspects of aging, and it's a gift of also having children seeing frailty, normalcy, and that's part of that full circle of life."
Now you might ask, would parents want their children to be in an early childhood program in a nursing home? Apparently so, the waiting list for the program includes 400 families!
Contributed by Kirsten Haugen
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I know toddler , infants , children and everybody finds the old
man and woman because they are very interesting to everybody and learned . They can make the environment joyous .
Great idea. But in California, every single resident and employee of the nursing home would have to be fingerprinted and have proof of immunizations...ah, the joys of over-regulation.
I work in a Child Care program in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, that has been within a nursing home for the past 25 years. All children, ages infants through the 4-5 year old class spend time with their "grand friends" from the Skilled Nursing Units, Memory Care Assisted Living Unit and the Adult Day Services Program, in scheduled, preplanned intergenerational activities ranging from twice to five times a week. The activities are planned collaboratively by the Recreational Therapists, Program Managers and Child Care teachers. We have an intergenerational committee that meets monthly to work on ways to expand the program. Annually we host an Intergenerational Art Show, featuring work made together, some of which is sold. The grand friends and children enjoy their time together, and some relationships last from week to week. Intergenerational programing is the way to go. I'm proud to work for this program.
This is a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, in our city, the economics of early childhood resulted in the Assisted Living closing the child care center in favor of using the space for rehabilitation services. The child care center was not profitable enough. How sad for the seniors and young children who had valuable relationships.