Young people have a natural way of connecting with everyone, especially older individuals living with dementia. At our Anthem Memory Care communities, we understand the value that comes from bringing our residents together with young people, which is why we strive to do it as often as possible.
Chelsea Place Memory Care in Aurora, Colorado has been working with Regis Jesuit High School for several years now and the young students are always eager to visit and share projects together.
Recently they enjoyed one of these visits, bringing plenty of smiles and laughter to the students, residents and our wonderful staff.
Why is inter-generational engagement so important? Much has been written on the value of connecting aging adults with dementia to young people. VeryWellHealth has shared some insight into the ways inter-generational relationships promote better physical and emotional wellbeing. Here are just a few of the benefits they point out:
- Higher levels of interaction, due to activities such as teaching young people skills they attained earlier in their lives.
- More frequent smiling and positive verbal or non-verbal communication.
- Increased levels of overall engagement.
Engagement for those living with dementia is so important that it has become a major aspect in making the decision to transition a loved one to a senior living community.
In fact, a Harris Poll found in a survey that 86% of Americans who responded would prefer a care setting with inter-generational activities, as opposed to exposure to only a single age group.
We understand this at Anthem Memory Care communities and seek regular opportunities to bring local school children and high school students together with our residents.
For those of you with a parent or other aging loved one who lives alone and struggles with isolation, it is important to regularly seek opportunities to connect them with young people.
For those of you researching memory care communities, it is important to ask them what their inter-generational programs are and how frequently they schedule activities. Learn as much as possible in advance the kind of activities they plan. They should be purposeful and enjoyable and should be scheduled to optimize participation and engagement by all participants.
Young people bring so much energy, interest and fresh outlooks to everyone they interact with. For those challenged by dementia, this brings light into a world that has become more confusing and anxiety filled.
Coming together with a young person, for even one afternoon, brings with it a renewed sense of purpose and value. Do this often and you will be doing your loved one and those around them a huge service.
(Our top image shows one of the Regis Jesuit students giving a big thumbs-up with a Chelsea Place resident.)