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.

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?

More
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
LUSH

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Annie Bolin on Unsplash

Recent tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have sparked a lot of conversation and action on the state level over the issue of gun control. But none may be as encouraging as the most recent one, in which 145 CEOs signed a letter urging the U.S. Senate to take action at their level.

Keep Reading Show less
popular