When plans were on the drawing board for The Longview Assisted Living Residence, Christian Health Care Center (CHCC) took the opportunity to create the ideal arrangement for intergenerational programming. Space on the lower level was dedicated for the Child Day Care Center, thus enabling easy intermingling between the generations. Later, the addition of the Spirit Path linking Longview, Hillcrest Residence, Christian Health Care Adult Day Services of Wyckoff, and Heritage Manor Nursing Home allowed the day-care staff to more readily transport children for activities with seniors in other residences and programs.
“Longview residents light up when children come around. Seniors who suffer from arthritis, dementia, or chronic pain suddenly come to live when youngsters are present. It’s joyful. It brings excitement, energy, and a sense of life,” says Rachel Yahes, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT, Longview Director of Activities. “The children benefit, too. Intergenerational programs present an opportunity for them to learn from seniors other than their own grandparents. They experience the seniors’ wisdom, and how giving and loving they are.”
Joining generations through activities enhances quality of life; fosters friendships across age groups; dispels stereotypes; makes seniors feel less alienated, lonely, and depressed; strengthens community relationships; encourages the exchange of traditions and values; enhances social skills; promotes self-esteem; stimulates learning; inspires collaboration; and encourages tolerance.
At Longview, intergenerational activities are scheduled weekly for residents and youngsters from the Child Day Care Center.
“Activities include arts and crafts, singing, reading books, and special events for holidays,” says Debby Neill, Child Day Care Center Director. “The most important outcome is that the seniors and children get to spend quality time together, simply talking and sharing hugs and love.”
Intergenerational activities at CHCC are not just limited to participation from the Child Day Care Center. Junior Volunteers age 13 to 17 engage with seniors in all programs and residences. Some teens volunteer year-round, but the program kicks into high gear during the summer.
“The most exhilarating part of intergenerational programs is when both populations realize that a person who was once a stranger has now become important,” Ms. Yahes says. “The strengths of each generation are recognized and respected. The joint programs become celebrations of young and old, of life and learning.”
Take a personal tour of Longview and learn about special programs, availability, and pricing. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (201) 848-4303.