What better captures the spirit of the holidays than watching children and seniors work together towards a common goal?
Bringing children together with seniors happens regularly at Highline Place Memory Care (an Anthem Memory Care community) in Littleton, Colorado. Recently, the Denver Channel’s NOW show visited Highline Place where local school children were hard at work with residents decorating (and filling!) special Christmas stockings. The stockings will go Shiloh House, a local center for youth whose lives have been impacted by abuse, neglect or trauma. (You can watch the video here.)
Jodi Cornman, Community Relations Director for Highline Memory Care was asked why Highline Place does this every year. “We just love ot bring the kids together with our residents,” said Jodi. “Decorating these stockings is so special for the people at Shiloh House. These kids really deserve to have a great Christmas and, if we can help in any way, that’s what we plan to do.”
Studies have found that the cognitive levels of all seniors, including those with dementia, can be improved when they engage in purposeful activities. In what is now considered a landmark study, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago conducted a long-term study of over 1,400 senior citizens over a 15-year period. Those who rated high on their “purpose of life” scale had a 30% lower rate of cognitive decline over those who rated lower.
At all our Anthem Memory Care communities, we encourage these kinds of activities, regularly bringing in children and teens from local schools to work together with our residents to help those in need within our broader community.
If you have a loved one with dementia, try to find opportunities to involve them in meaningful tasks, such as helping set the table, or helping to prepare a meal. You may find that working side by side will bring a greater sense of purpose and satisfaction to both of you. It may even stimulate a memory or two.