Intergenerational Interaction

Developing a bond with an elder or a child can be a transformative, life-changing experience. We have so much to learn from the children first exploring their environment, and the seniors who have seen so much.

The Mount St. Vincent Experiment

Earlier in the year, The Atlantic featured a Seattle-based living-care community known to locals as ‘The Mount,’ here’s why:

 Six times a week, teachers take their groups to the residential floors to visit the elders for anywhere from 20 minutes for the infants to 60 minutes for the older children. Residents are welcome to observe in the classrooms, and structured activities for the children and residents to participate in together are scheduled daily.

 

The philosophy is simple — before the development of professional care facilities (including pre-schools and eldercare communities), seniors and kids often shared the space together. This is just a new way to inter-mingle again in today’s world.

Research

The most touching part of the article came from Marie Hoover, the Intergenerational Learning Center Director, who observed the positive impact the pre-schoolers had on one resident in particular who suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s. The article points to many studies that prove this program’s worth to seniors, “social interaction with decreased loneliness, delayed mental decline, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of disease and death.”

We, alongside author Tiffany R. Jansen, are intrigued by the reverse effects — what are the benefits children gain from being around the elderly?

At Brooking Park

Needless to say, we are very excited about this write-up and learning model — especially as a community who works with families, offers support groups, encourages visitors (of all ages!), and who knows about the advantages of pets in eldercare (we are pet-friendly).

In the coming weeks, please stay tuned for updates from our new chaplain about our forthcoming intergenerational programs.

Combating Isolation

We know that proper sleep and a healthy diet fight against the common causes of death, cognitive decline and heart disease; however, many neglect another root cause of illness: loneliness.

With the ‘over 65’ population group increasing, and the number of elders without children on the rise, society is faced with an isolation problem.

An archived A Place For Mom article is more relevant today than it was when first published in October 2014. The write-up lists 20 facts that link senior risk factors to loneliness. Facebook and the connectivity that technology allows are not always the answer.

In the past, we’ve blogged about the importance of making connections and helping forge synapses in the brain. Sadly, the article points to a Statistics Canda report that indicates more than 20% of seniors live alone, without a strong base of friends, and attend fewer than one activity per month.

What Brooking Park Offers

Caregivers and families of elderly loved ones must find programs or a community that engages and stimulates their residents (mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally).

 More than 40 Hours Per Week

On any given week, for 40+ hours a week, our uniquely caring staff provides group activities including religious services,  entertainment from outside the community, art activities, happy hour, pet therapy, exercise groups, cooking demonstrations, card games/board games, bible study, and more.

For community involvement, questions regarding our upcoming activities, or to schedule a to tour, please contact Katie Easton and the Brooking Park team at (314) 576-5545