From McKnight's Long Term Care News
After teaching kids most of her life, 101-year-old Grace Cloninger enjoyed interacting with children at her retirement community in Sacramento, CA.
Eskaton Monroe Lodge, Cloninger's home for 17 years, partnered with a local school to bring the Eskaton Kids Connection program to residents. A classroom of approximately 30 children visit the independent living community to complete various activities together, explained Lola Rain, social media director at Eskaton. “The kids are paired with their ‘buddies,' and Grace had two,” Rain said. “They do different things, like art projects, reading or singing.”
Cloninger recently stopped participating in Kids Connection for health reasons, but she always enjoyed time with the children. “I loved working with kids as a teacher, so it was nice to be able to stay in touch with young people again,” she said. “Singing with them was my favorite part.”
Eskaton launched the inter-generational program six years to bring socialization to residents. Kids Connection is a replicable program with a track record of success, Rain said. In fact, the program has spread to 23 communities in Northern California, bringing 26 classrooms to interact with residents. “It's all about the intergenerational activities, so they all interact together and it is beneficial for everybody,” she noted. “We want more communities across the U.S. to adopt the program or build their own, and people like Grace will definitely benefit.”
Eskaton Kids Connection won the 2015 Innovations in Quality Award from the California Assisted Living Association. Click here for a guide book to start your own intergenerational program.
Eskaton Kids Connection is supported by Eskaton Foundation. To get involved or donate, click here to visit our website.