Nothing is more exciting for our memory care residents than visits from young people. Whether they are from a local school, youth organization or family members, they never fail to bring smiles and laughter to everyone.
Recently, residents of Emerald Place Memory Care in Glenview, Illinois were treated to a visit from the local Northfield Girl Scout Troop 45521, a delight in and of itself, but made even more special by what they had prepared for the residents.
Each scout had hand-painted a cartload of pumpkins in advance, as part of a project. Upon their visit, the scouts presented a pumpkin to each resident. The residents clearly enjoyed the gifts, remarking upon the creative and colorful designs. The scouts also enjoyed the interactions as residents talked about some of their own memories of carving pumpkins and enjoying the season.
Inter-generational activities are so important to individuals living with dementia. Young people bring, by their very presence, a unique brand of therapy which, in turn, brings many advantages to residents. Very Well Health cites respected sources which have noted clear advantages of inter-generational interactions to individuals with cognitive impairment, including:
- More instances of smiling and positive verbal and non-verbal communication.
- Higher levels of interaction with the young people.
- Greater overall engagement with those around them.
What does this mean to those of you who are caring for a loved one with dementia? It means that making an effort to bring them together regularly with younger family members can be beneficial to their health and wellbeing. By the way, it also brings benefits to the younger folks as well. We know this because young people who visit our communities often report having their spirits lifted along with the enjoyment of hearing stories and getting some good advice from their elders.
Inter-generational interactions benefit everyone. And that’s one of the reasons that our communities continue to reach out into the greater community to foster involvement and launch programs that bring young people together with our memory care residents. It is an experience that elevates and inspires all of us. A true win-win!
(The top image is of a Northfield Girl Scout Troop member with an Emerald Place resident.)