This nursing home improved to reduce the social isolation 45% of the elderly population experiences and any other home could do the same. Providence Mount St. Vincent in Seattle, WA is home to over 400 elderly people, as well as a preschool. The unique combination of a senior home and preschool has changed everyone’s life for the better.
The Intergenerational Learning Center (ILC) is a specially formulated childcare center that encourages preschool children to interact with elderly residents on a regular basis.
The ILC formed in hopes of teaching children more about the elderly while also adding more joy to elderly homes. The program enables kids to see and experience the normal ageing process, helping reduce any fears or uncertainty about older people. Teaching kids regardless of age or ability all people are full of love and warmth worth sharing in.
A documentary is currently being made about this awesome program that combines toddlers and the elderly. The documentary is a KickStarter project; as of now it has earned over 1,800 backers and $100,000. The description for the documentary reads: “Set in a preschool housed within a retirement home, Present Perfect explores the experience of growing up and growing old in America.”
Evan Briggs, the creator of the documentary, spent a considerable amount of time in the nursing home, watching the youthful preschoolers and elderly residents interact on a daily basis.
She writes, “Shooting this film and embedding myself in the nursing home environment also allowed me to see with new eyes just how generationally segregated we’ve become as a society. And getting to know so many of the amazing residents of the Mount really highlighted the tremendous loss this is- for us all.”
“The children and residents come together in a variety of planned activities such as music, dancing, art, lunch, storytelling or just visiting.”
Briggs’ time at the nursing home proved fruitful with special moments shared between residents and children. “Some were sweet, some awkward, some funny- all of them poignant and heartbreakingly real.”
She references one moment in particular when the children were singing “You Are My Sunshine.” This song sparked a memory in an elderly resident who shared singing the same song on a bus with his fellow soldiers while serving overseas in World War II.
If you have ever been in a nursing home you know how sad and lonely it can feel, regardless of how nice the accommodations are. Adding groups of youthful children to the mix brightens up the space, adding value to each child’s life as well as laughter, love and activity for the elderly residents.