There’s nothing like a friendly game of croquet to get people talking and enjoying one another’s company. And, when it involves a mix of elementary school students and older adults, it is even more special. Recently, Chelsea Place Memory Care (an Anthem Memory Care community) located in Aurora, Colorado, partnered with students from Sagebrush Elementary and Jiminy Wicket to engage them all in a lively game of croquet. Jiminy Wicket is an intergenerational croquet experience that brings elementary school students together with memory care residents.
The event was, as expected, a great success and full of what they referred to as “magic moments”. When you watch the video you can see immediately how special this experience was, not only to the residents but to the students and staff as well.
Chelsea Place has participated in about ten Jiminy Wicket events over the course of the school year. It’s a successful program because they keep the agenda simple and fun. Each student is encouraged to “team up” with a resident for a game of croquet, which is set up for them in the school gym by the Jiminy Wicket organizer (often the founder himself, James Creasey). Chelsea Place’s Life Engagement Assistant, Henry Johnson Jr., filmed the most recent event, which you can watch here.
When an individual is challenged with dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, interacting with young people, especially children, will often spark a level of interaction others find difficult to achieve. At Anthem Memory Care communities, we take every opportunity to bring school children together with our residents. Witnessing the laughter and smiles these occasions bring is an experience that never gets old for our staff, our residents and families.
If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, encourage younger family members and friends to come and visit often. If possible, try to keep the visits to one or two children and keep them short. That way they will be more enjoyable and less tiring for your loved one.
Finding opportunities to bring children and older adults together brings smiles and laughter as well as breathes some fresh air into the lives of all who participate. It’s truly a “win-win” experience!