I love it when my girls spend time with the elderly nuns who live in a nearby convent. I’ve found myself loving the interaction and wished it happened more often.
So when I learned of an assisted living facility in Seattle that also houses a preschool within its walls, I had no doubt that it was an excellent idea. The 400+ residents of Providence Mount St. Vincent assisted-living center interact on a daily basis with the children, age birth through 5, who attend The Intergenerational Learning Center. The broad purpose of the ILC is to help children learn about the elderly, specifically naturalizing the aging process, accepting people with disabilities, reducing their fear of older adults, and just relishing the plain old joy of receiving unconditional love and attention.
It’s a total win-win situation, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Check out what filmmaker Evan Briggs has put together at PresentPerfectFilm.com. Briggs hopes that her beautiful film will spark more discussion about how to expand the model further. The film’s title, “Present Perfect,” refers to the fact that while these two groups of people have no future or past in common, their relationships emerge and exist entirely in the present and are absolutely beautiful.
Such a beautiful program where everyone benefits. Young children are open to older folks in ways that older children are not. It is heart warming to see these photos of the children and older people enjoying each other’s company.
I love to think about what the young and the old can bring to each other. My mother in law, who had Alzheimers, lived with us for five years when my children were very young. People used to actually comment to me that it was probably traumatic for our kids. I was so shocked because honestly our kids LOVED IT. Gramma would sit and watch them play all day long. They would put on skits for her and she was the best audience ever. She read to them until she was no longer able to read and then they read to her. They played checkers with her and loved that there were no rules because she couldn’t remember them. Today, they are grown and married with children of their own, and some of their best childhood memories are when Gramma lived with us and we took care of her. I wouldn’t take back those years for anything.
– Dori –
I agree, those years spent together can’t be traded for anything. I am beyond thankful that I had them in my childhood too.