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Lesson Plans

Daily interaction with young children keeps nursing home residents young

May 11, 2016

Full Lesson

Essential question

How can our society improve the way we care for the very young and the very old?

A special day care program in Seattle, Washington, brings preschool-aged children and senior citizens together under one roof.

Providence Mount St. Vincent nursing home, or the Mount, is made up of 500 residents and houses a child care center filled with 125 preschoolers, creating an intergenerational learning center.

“It’s a gift in exposing young families to positive aspects of aging, and it’s a gift of also having children seeing frailty, normalcy and that’s part of that full circle of life,” said administrator Charlene Boyd.

Resident Harriet Thompson said she experiences happiness when she interacts with the children and that it beats everything else, including television.

Boredom and loneliness often plague older adults, according to Boyd, and for them there is nothing more magical than seeing young children make noise and laugh.

Key terms

intergenerational — relating to, involving, or affecting several generations

Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. Why is affordable child care important for working parents?
  2. Why do some elderly people live in nursing homes?
  3. Have you ever been to a nursing home? How would you describe life in a nursing home?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. What are some of the benefits of having young children and older adults interact on a daily basis?
  2. Do you think there is equal benefit to both the children in the day care and the nursing home residents? Why or why not?
  3. Would you consider enrolling your child in a day care like this? Explain your answer.
  4. Would you consider living in a nursing home similar to Providence Mount St. Vincent? Explain.

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