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Kids and the elderly go together like peanut butter and jelly! Some nursing homes are catching on.

Finding a nursing home with a program like this could benefit your loved ones' well-being.

Kids and the elderly go together like peanut butter and jelly! Some nursing homes are catching on.

It's one of the side effects of aging that the elderly often find themselves needing the care a nursing home provides but having to accept the isolation from the rest of the world that goes with it. Nobody likes feeling lonely, but it ties into a bigger problem — isolation can factor into a person's actual health:

Problem #1: Isolation and loneliness aren't just emotionally hard, they can make people die sooner, too.


"Water is running out of my eyes" — a nursing home resident talks about his emotions. Image via "Present Perfect."

Children can miss out on a lot if they don't get to spend time with the elderly: exercising empathy, the satisfaction of helping others, and gaining a frame of reference for the big picture of their own lives. We're all going to get old! We're all going to need Medicare and Social Security one day. But we can forget that when we don't have enough chances to associate with older generations. All of which defines:

Problem #2: Children these days often don't get the benefit of interacting with the elderly.

Image via "Present Perfect."

"Children involved in intergenerational relationships see enhanced social skills, better academic performance, less risk of using drugs and an enhanced sense of stability." — Dr. David Lipschitz, "Intergenerational Relationships Benefit All Involved"

A couple of smart programs are solving both of those problems at once.

— College kids can live rent-free in one nursing home in the Netherlands.

At the Humanitas nursing home, one rule is that the college-aged residents must spend 30 hours monthly being "good neighbors" to the elderly residents. That can mean watching a game together on TV or spending time with them when they're ill, which is crucial for helping someone sick keep their spirits up. It can also take the form of birthday fun.

She's celebrating her 77th birthday! This nursing home resident is not in the Netherlands, but this gives an idea of the joy of having someone to bring you delicious treats and love on your birthday. Image by Jack/Flickr.

The other rule is that the college-age residents can go about their lives as they wish as long as they aren't disruptive to the nursing home residents, which isn't hard. Many of the residents are hard of hearing, as the head of Humanitas quipped to PBS Newshour.

— Another nursing home in Seattle hosts a day care, and intergenerational programs a bit similar exist at about 500 nursing homes across the country.

The Providence Mount St. Vincent nursing home in Seattle cares for up to 400 residents, and it also houses an Intergenerational Learning Center program for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years.

Image via "Present Perfect."

Evan Briggs, a documentary maker who is producing a film about the mutual benefits of pairing the young and the old, filmed the Seattle nursing home and relayed a story in her Kickstarter:

"Everyone had just finished a rendition of “You Are My Sunshine" when one of the residents began to share a memory he had of singing that very same song late at night on a bus full of soldiers while serving overseas during World War II.

The clarity with which this gentleman recalled this era of his life so many years ago was breathtaking- the memory seeming to appear before his eyes as he spoke. And though the kids were too young to understand his words, the fact that their presence provided a catalyst for his recollection just seemed to fit in a 'circle of life' kind of way."

GIF via "Present Perfect."

The combining of young people and the elderly results in a surprising melange of moments, as the following film trailer portrays. Some are sweet, and some are frustrating. But they are all very honest and important in developing and maintaining a sense of humanity.

Could we be doing more of this kind of stuff in our communities? Why not bring this idea to your local nursing home and see what happens?

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

In the autumn of 1939, Chiune Sugihara was sent to Lithuania to open the first Japanese consulate there. His job was to keep tabs on and gather information about Japan's ally, Germany. Meanwhile, in neighboring Poland, Nazi tanks had already begun to roll in, causing Jewish refugees to flee into the small country.

When the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in June of 1940, scores of Jews flooded the Japanese consulate, seeking transit visas to be able to escape to a safety through Japan. Overwhelmed by the requests, Sugihara reached out to the foreign ministry in Tokyo for guidance and was told that no one without proper paperwork should be issued a visa—a limitation that would have ruled out nearly all of the refugees seeking his help.

Sugihara faced a life-changing choice. He could obey the government and leave the Jews in Lithuania to their fate, or he could disobey orders and face disgrace and the loss of his job, if not more severe punishments from his superiors.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Sugihara was fond of saying, "I may have to disobey my government, but if I don't, I would be disobeying God." Sugihara decided it was worth it to risk his livelihood and good standing with the Japanese government to give the Jews at his doorstep a fighting chance, so he started issuing Japanese transit visas to any refugee who needed one, regardless of their eligibility.

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