The magic happens every day at Westminster Canterbury Richmond where the children from our Child Development Center interact with our residents. Precious moments occur when the children explore with their teachers. Early on they learn that the tall octagon of Foundation Hall provides a great echo chamber, and few tykes resist a few whoops as they pass through. Such fun!
Every week a class of four-year-olds visits The Gables, a living center for people with dementia. Our teachers and recreational therapists plan programming that is mutually beneficial to the residents and the children. The interaction brings so much joy – joy that spills over to everyone who participates. Another regular set of visitors are the therapy dogs! Now that is a winning combination – pups, kiddos and laughing seniors!
Many research projects testing the benefits of intergenerational programming provide affirmation of what we see here each day. According to McMaster University’s Optimal Aging Portal, such activities have the potential to nurture a sense of being useful to society (such as the feeling that older people are able to guide and positively influence future generations), to improve the well-being of older adults, and also to reduce the stigma associated with aging and discrimination against older adults.
You can bring intergenerational magic to your loved ones by planning activities for children and seniors such as simple art projects, singing familiar songs, planting seeds, reading a story or looking at picture books. Our Child Development Center teachers emphasize the need to be flexible and observant, ready to make adjustments if either the children or the seniors are stressed by the interaction.
Intergenerational Magic has the power to bring deep and lasting joy! We heartily recommend looking for moments to share with your loved ones!
Click here to learn more about our Child Development Center!