There are thousands of questions asked at Eskaton every day about meals, clubs, activities, and other fun things. But there is one particular question that has everyone eager with anticipation:
“When are the kids coming?”
On a regular basis, students from local classrooms visit Eskaton as part of the Kids Connection program. Participating residents and students are paired up as buddies for reading time, songs, snacks, socialization, and general fun.
It’s hard to tell whether the program is more enjoyable for the residents or the students, staff say.
The Value Of Intergenerational Relationships
The lessons the kids learn are invaluable. They learn how to befriend adults with diverse interests, how to engage others in their own interests, how to build a relationship, how to share a meal with others, how to deal with loss, and about the aging process in general.
But Kids Connection isn’t just good for the kids—it’s good for the Eskaton residents, too. Their young buddies brighten their day whether it’s a visit or a Skype session from the classroom.
The relationship built helps collapse the space that often exists between generations. The students overcome misconceptions they may have about older adults, while the residents may gain a new understanding of the younger generation.
The residents often encourage their buddies to read and write more and have been known to slightly brag about their own buddy’s success, just as they would their own grandchildren. Even outside the school-scheduled time, the students and their families can be found continuing to spend time and build the relationship with their new buddy.
Kids Connection Gains Accolades
Along with accolades from the participating schools and communities, Eskaton Kids Connection has been recognized in the following ways:
- 2015 Innovations in Quality Award from California Assisted Living Association
- Inspire Award from Twin Rivers Unified School District
- Excellence recognition by The Eisner Foundation
- Selected by LeadingAge to present at conferences