“Connections between generations are essential for the mental health and stability of a nation.”
Capital Health Home Care in Ashtabula, Ohio is facilitating and sponsoring intergenerational learning between seniors residing in long term care settings and students at River Gate High School, a charter school in Warren, Ohio. It is one component of a larger community outreach initiative on behalf of Capital Health Care Network known as the Capital Intergenerational Learning Program.
The program is based on the idea that intergenerational learning is beneficial to seniors and students alike. According to Capital Health Home Care, both generations benefit in the following ways:
· Improved sense of community and connectedness
· Greater awareness and understanding
· Opportunity to bridge the generation gap
· Opportunity to break down age-based stereotypes
· Improved interpersonal skills and communication
“Intergenerational learning compliments our mission to provide seniors with opportunities for social and intellectual engagement,” said Lisa Stockdale, Vice President at Capital Health Care Network. Stockdale said, “We believe our communities are improved anytime seniors and the elderly are valued, celebrated and acknowledged. This program gives us the chance to promote intergenerational connections which is a win-win for seniors and students.”
Erin Williams, Community Liaison at Capital Health Home Care in Ashtabula, spearheaded the Capital Intergenerational Learning Program when she connected students at River Gate High School with older adults via a letter writing campaign. “I thought we should match up seniors who have so much to offer with students looking for learning opportunities outside the classroom by encouraging them to become pen pals as a start,” said Williams. River Gate High School, like many charter schools in Ohio, has little to no funding for extracurricular activities.
Williams said Capital Health Home Care in Ashtabula is currently working on setting up other intergenerational learning opportunities including arranging for students at River Gate High School interested in healthcare to shadow nurses at local assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities.
Assisted living communities, skilled nursing facilities and charter schools in the Ashtabula, Dayton, Steubenville or Columbus areas of Ohio can call 614-357-2965 to learn more or to inquire about participating in the program.