A clip of a toddler and fun-loving senior hanging out together is going viral on Instagram and for good reason — it’s absolutely adorable.
Elizabeth Schmidt shared a clip of her daughter, Josie, and a resident of senior and memory care facility singing, dancing, and laughing together, noting that her daughter’s school integrates with senior living & memory care facility.
What is an intergenerational care center?
This kind of combination care is a new and interesting take on senior care centers which has taken off in the past few years. This concept, known as intergenerational care centers, are a newly emerging model that combine daycare services for older adults and children in one location.
“Josie goes to a school that integrates with a senior living & memory care facility. Every day, the kids venture over to spend time with the “grandmas and grandpas” and experience some intergenerational learning and play,” Schmidt wrote in the caption.
“It has been such a gift to watch her bring joy and laughter to the residents and to watch her spirit blossom through getting to know them. She has an incredibly special bond with her ‘grandmas and grandpas’ upstairs. I am proud of the sweet, silly, wonderful little person she is.”
Hundreds commented on the video, praising the idea of young children and seniors spending time together.
“I think that kindergartens and facilities for elderly people should only be built together,” one user wrote.
“This does wonders for both generations. Doctors said my great grandma who had dementia would not likely have lived as long if my little cousins weren’t living in the same house, bringing her joy and giving her a reason to keep going. I like to think these kids are doing the same for those old folks ❤️,” another said.
“My kids go here and it’s amazing! They do nature hikes, play-based learning, art studio, music, and time with their “grandfriends” throughout the week. They have really blossomed there ❤️, ” another wrote.
Who benefits from intergenerational programs?
According to Generations United, intergenerational programs and care centers benefit people of all ages.
“These programs bring people of different generations together for ongoing, mutually beneficial, planned activities, designed to achieve specified program goals and promote greater understanding and respect between generations,” the organizations fact sheet reads.
Intergenerational relationships are one of the most effective and powerful ways to tackle ageism and foster greater trust and vulnerability across all ages and life stages, according to Dr. Jean Accius, President and Chief Executive Officer at CHC: Creating Healthier Communities.
This type of co-mingling between generations helps break down bias and stereotypes that some groups may have fostered toward one another, building a sense of community and understanding for one another.
“Whether it’s kindergarteners visiting nursing homes, older men and women volunteering at the local elementary school library or older and young adults playing video games together, the opportunity for different generations to engage has shown evidence in reducing prejudice and negative stereotypes,” Accius continued.
Research has documented a wide range of benefits for everyone involved. Young children learn empathy and improve their abilities with cooperative play just to name a few skills. Research also shows that intergenerational relationships can reduce signs of depression and substance abuse in young children.
How does the intergenerational model help the health of seniors?
As for older adults, there is a significant drop in feelings of isolation and loneliness. In fact, 92% of Americans believe intergenerational activities can help reduce loneliness across all ages.
Studies also show that seniors who spend time with younger generations have an improved quality of life and purpose in life, improved self-worth, self-esteem, empowerment, cognitive health improvement, increased strength and balance, and leadership proficiencies.
Let’s be real though, just one viewing of Schmidt’s heartwarming video is enough evidence to show that intergenerational care centers are truly changing lives and doing so much good for the world. More of these, please!