Studies show that active and engaged older adults remain in better health than those that are not active and that older adults who volunteer live longer and with better physical and mental health than their non-volunteering counterparts.
Even residents in nursing homes have better outcomes when they lead active and engaged lives.
Many Arkansas homes have intergenerational programs that allow the young and old to interact, resulting in residents feeling needed and connected to their community. Several of our homes have sewing clubs, “pack the backpack” programs and trick- or- treat programs. These are often resident-led activities supported by nursing home staff, providing valuable assistance to the local community.
Some nursing home administrators are thinking outside the box. They are developing intergenerational programs that are a departure from the old institutional mindset. Charlene Boyd, administrator of Providence Mount St. Vincent in Seattle and one of the original pioneers to help found The Pioneer Network, is one of these administrators.
This home is world-famous, for its many elder-centered practices and for its amazing on site intergenerational learning center.
Watch the trailer for the upcoming film about this program.
One of our culture change program homes, Ozark Health and Rehabilitation in Clinton, is the pilot home for the Music and Memory program in Arkansas. We’re beginning to see other homes around the state implement this program, which helps residents become engaged through music. Some of the homes are taking the program a step further and developing intergenerational programs based on music.
The Alive Inside Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the power of music to expand intergenerational human connections and develop empathy between youth and elders. The foundation understands that kids are the best at implementing music and memory programs in nursing homes. What about the kids? Well, studies show that children benefit profoundly from the experience of interacting with older adults. Take a look at the foundation’s new documentary.
Are you considering an intergenerational program for your nursing home? Go to the Changing Aging website and spread the information.
Before you start any program remember, intergenerational magic does not just happen by bringing old and young together! Preparation, planning and training are necessary for any successful program.