When memory care residents and high school students are brought together, the positive impact is almost always far greater than either group anticipates!
That is why inter-generational gatherings and events are a regular occurrence at Chelsea Place Memory Care in Aurora, Colorado. They provide frequent socialization for the residents, who enjoy meeting and interacting with young people. Most recently, Chelsea Memory Care held a Valentine’s dance, inviting high school seniors from local Regis Jesuit High School to help plan and attend the event.
Age barriers quickly came down, as students and residents got to know each other.
As is often the case with young people who have little experience with seniors, some of the students were nervous and a bit wary of the project. A few did not have grandparents or older family members and, therefore, had never had any meaningful interactions to guide them. As it turned out, however, they didn’t need them. The excitement of planning the event pushed aside any barriers as young and old joined together to put on a fun and relaxing event.
As with other events at Chelsea Memory Care, local news outlets heard of the upcoming Valentine’s dance and joined in the festivities, bringing along camera crews and reporters from local news channel, KCNC, The Denver Post and The Aurora Sentinel.
For one student it was a “connection of souls”.
One interview, with 18-year old, Kali Soudani, conducted by The Aurora Sentinel, brought forth a particularly poignant response. “There was a sense of anticipation and fear for me. I don’t have any grandparents, so I hadn’t really worked with elderly people before,” she said. “But I have learned that it’s not about age, it’s about our souls connecting, which I know kind of sounds cliché. When you meet with these people and they tell you their life stories, you realize this is probably the last generation you get to hear these things from.”
Brining generations together has a positive effect on the residents and the young people.
Jenni Dill, Life Engagement Counselor for Chelsea Place, witnesses these joyful moments often. That’s why Chelsea Place, as well as all the other Anthem Memory Care communities, work to bring those from the greater community in to meet and engage with their residents on a regular basis.
As Jenni Dill told the Aurora Sentinel reporter, “Intergenerational experiences are so important, not just for our residents, but for the kids as well. It gives them the opportunity to impart the wisdom they’ve gained to the next generation.”
As you can imagine, the dance itself was a resounding success. And for those, like Kali Soudani, it was also a life changer.