“The soul is healed by being with children.” — Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist and philosopher
At Cedarhurst, we are “bridging the gap”. We have found that integrating intergenerational activities and inspiring meaningful connections are mutually beneficial. “Residents anticipate these events and activities almost more than any other. It really brightens their day,” said Kathy, Director of Activities at Cedarhurst of Shiloh Independent & Assisted Living. This is why each and every Cedarhurst community has created a way to incorporate its local community, schools and church organizations with our resident elders. Not all of our programs are the same, but they each share the same common goal – bringing together different generations for fulfilling experiences.
Over the years, there have been numerous studies proving the benefits of intergenerational relationships. According to a study done at the University of Missouri these types of programs encourage:
- Children to:
- Experience being around a variety of elders, showing them that not all aging adults are the same
- Meet positive senior role models
- Heighten sense of security and self awareness
- Handle social situations and emotions in a more mature manner
- Learn from elders including a new skill and/or historical events or memories
- Seniors to:
- Share common interests
- Develop or strengthen child rearing skills
- Experience fulfillment though education, connections and the ability to teach skills to the next generation
Depending on the community, you will see different types of intergenerational activities and events. For example, at Cedarhurst of Sparta they offer “tea” with the local Girl Scouts while serving their famous cookies. In Cedarhurst of Collinsville, the Collinsville Christian Academy comes in once a month to do crafts or play games with residents while enjoying punch and cookies. At our Cedarhurst of Edwardsville Memory Care community, they have a very wide variety of different groups and organizations that come in to spend time with our seniors. We have had middle school children make blankets with our residents to donate to local charities, a variety of different local schools that come in to play games, give performances, do crafts, sing karaoke, and the local Boy Scouts have come in to have Veteran’s Day lunch with our veterans, just to name a few. At Cedarhurst of Shiloh, they have everything from church youth groups coming in to put on a singing concert to 1st graders showing off their new reading skills to the Belleville West Jazz Band serenading our residents.
“The kids love to bring the residents gifts. They are so proud to show off their work,” said Kristi Sisk, Director of Activities.
Of all of our communities and all of the different activities, one aspect remains the same – the sheer gratitude and excitement shown by both the children and the residents when they are together. “Everybody lights up, even those who tend not to smile. It always makes a big difference in their day,” said Kristi.
One of our newest senior living communities in St. Charles, MO is being constructed on the Lindenwood University Campus. We are incredibly excited about this endeavor and the many possibilities that it will mean for the Cedarhurst community. Intergenerational activities and students training on-site are in the plans for Cedarhurst of St. Charles, but we believe this is just the tip of the iceberg. Cedarhurst is one of the first in the Midwest to build a senior living community on a local college campus.