They Put a Preschool in a Nursing Home - and It's Awesome

Bottom line - it’s all about love and respect.

Oct 26, 2015

In many traditional cultures, the elder members of society are in daily contact with their young relatives - often living together, eating together and taking responsibility for their education. In Western society the model is different, with the elderly often living in care facilities, with minimal contact with the younger generation.

In the light of the correlation between social isolation and physical and mental decline, the Providence Mount St. Vincent elderly care community in Seattle decided to add an unlikely addition to its facilities - a preschool. And the effect is something incredible.

In her documentary on the Intergenerational Learning Center, Present Perfect, filmmaker Evan Briggs captures the success of the program - which is perfectly apparent simply by looking at the faces of both the young and elderly. The children look at the residents with eyes full of wonder, as they learn from their wisdom and life experience. And as they begin to understand the natural aging process and how to look past physical differences, the children bring joy, movement and laughter into their elderly friends’ lives - along with measurable positive emotional and physical effects. Since the preschool opened, the residents of Providence Mount St. Vincent are happier and healthier - and the preschoolers graduate with big smiles, too.

With the baby boomers generation fast aging, this preschool provides an innovative solution for bridging the gap between the generations, and caring for the well-being of youngsters and the elderly alike - together.

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As well as managing Goodnet.org, Elana writes happy headlines with a particular focus on yoga, meditation and family matters. She has a background in online journalism and web content.

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