The award-winning Condell Day Center was the first in Illinois to create an environment in which adults and children can form relationships on a daily basis. From sharing a storybook to planting a garden, “grandmas and grandpas” in our Adult Day Services program and the youngsters in Condell Day Center’s adjacent Child Day Care program, participate in a wide range of activities that offer unequalled benefits of interaction to both groups.
Benefits to Children
- Children have the opportunity to develop a meaningful bond and relationship with an older adult
- Children come to recognize different aspects of the life cycle as being natural and not to be feared
- Children view older adults as active and useful, not weary, worn out individuals
Benefits to Older Adults
- Interaction gives the older adults a sense of continued usefulness. Older adults are empowered and are able to draw upon their own skills and backgrounds when interacting with the children.
- Older adults have the opportunity to develop a meaningful bond and relationship with the children.
- Physical and psychological isolation and feelings of abandonment and disconnection will be reduced when older adults participate in an intergenerational program.
Benefits to Children and Older Adults
- Children and older adults gain a sense of unconditional acceptance from each other – there are no predetermined expectations of them.
- Both children and adults come together in a partnership of giving…both generations have an opportunity to nurture each other.
- Older adults and children have the opportunity to help and be helped, teach and be taught, love and be loved.
Benefits to Staff Members
- Staff members gain a fuller understanding and acceptance of the life cycle from infancy through death.
- Staff members necessarily must expand their definition of “old age” and what that involves.
- Staff members have the opportunity to observe and participate in positive cross-involvement between different generations.
Benefits to Families
- Caregivers of older adults have the opportunity to see their family member through the eyes of the children – as a person with continued worth and purpose.
- Parents of young children are comforted by the fact that surrogate extended family is available to their children – even if the child’s grandparents do not live in the area.
- Families are the beneficiaries of the accumulated knowledge and experience that older adults have to offer.
Benefits to Community
- As children who have participated in an intergenerational program mature, they will have a realistic view of older adults, which they will carry with them throughout their lives.
- An intergenerational program helps to develop a true sense of community through acceptance.
- An intergenerational program provides a service that growing communities need.