There are many changes in the realm of senior care, everything from improved rehabilitation equipment, remote-monitoring or telehealth equipment and so much more. One of the changes that has been highlighted recently is how inter-generational exchanges can have a positive effect in the senior care sector – for everyone involved!
As reported in McKnight’s Senior Living in January 29th, 2018, “[m]any senior living communities are welcoming students of all ages – some as temporary residents – and scheduling activities to foster intergenerational relationships.” At The Middletown Home, beginning in the Fall of 2018, we are spear-heading this trend in South Central PA! The Penn State Harrisburg campus is next door to our community and we are offering students from Penn State Harrisburg a wonderful opportunity to reside on our campus. Students receive a furnished independent living apartment equipped with a full bath and kitchen and meal plan, as students are encouraged to share meals with residents in our dining room.
A very modest monthly fee is charged to the student in exchange for the student providing a minimum of twenty (20) hours/month of structured volunteer programming with our residents. Students are encouraged to participate in programming such as: 1:1 visits; escorting residents to social events on and off campus; sharing in music, dance, drama, and/or art; and most importantly offering companionship.
In 2017, Leading Age, along with Generations United published a white paper called “Intergenerational Programming in Senior Housing”. This paper reports there is a growing interest among senior housing providers in intergenerational programming as a vehicle for connecting residents to the broader community, enhancing well-being for both youth and older adults, reducing ageism, and preparing an aging workforce. There is even a trend for active involvement of child-care centers in some senior residences in South Central PA.
Whether it’s students or child care, the results are the same – opening up the lives of both the seniors and the participants (children or young adults) can positively impact everyone’s outlook. As we vision for the future, The Middletown Home is intentional in more fully developing a campus of Wellness, Rehabilitation, and Life Long Learning, especially through the relationship between The Middletown Home and the students of Penn State Harrisburg. As we embrace our visioning specific to Life Long Learning, the relationship between The Middletown Home and the students of Penn State-Harrisburg is paramount. I truly believe that “We are better, when we’re together”, both residents and students living together in one community with one another.