Imagine walking into a room and seeing children and seniors dancing, painting and creating art together. It has the ability to warm hearts and is guaranteed to bring a smile. Every month at Edgehill senior living community, Children's Learning Centers (CLC) of Fairfield County visits for the “Come Play with Me” intergenerational program at the community.
The long standing program provides the opportunity for the two generations to come together as one. During the May visit, the residents took a trip to the CLC and the kids learned a thing or two about gardening, helping the kids plant beautiful flowers in the classrooms’ window boxes.
Intergenerational programming brings seniors and kids together to form fun and meaningful relationships. Both groups have so much to teach and learn from each other that the result of these programs is always magical. Older adults with dementia and other cognitive impairments experience more positive effects during interactions with children than they did during non-generational activities. In schools where older adults were a regular fixture, children had more improved reading scores compared to their peers at other schools. Additionally, interacting with older adults enables youth to develop social networks, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, positive attitudes toward aging, a sense of purpose and community service.
The residents participate in a range of activities with the children, including reading to the children, helping plant the community garden, singing songs together, and creating arts and crafts.
The partnership between the CLC and Edgehill has been established for years and there's no sign of slowing down. Director of Independent Living Activities at Edgehill, Mary Bernat, sets the schedule for the visits and organizes each activity.
The time that Edgehill residents spend with children is proof that intergenerational programming can have significant, long-lasting results that make a difference in the lives of individuals in both generations.