Some Statistics

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This resulted in an estimated total of 3.8 million individuals over the age of 71 with dementia and just over 2.5 million with AD in the USA‘.

(Ferri CP, Prince M, Brayne C, Brodaty H, Fratiglioni L, Ganguli M, Hall K, Hasegawa K, Hendrie H, Huang Y, Jorm A, Mathers C, Menezes PR, Rimmer E, Scazufca M: Global prevalence of dementia: a Delphi consensus study. Lancet 2005;366:2112–2117.)

There are 37.2 million people aged 65 and older.

(U.S. Census Bureau
Housing and Household Economics Division Labor Force Statistics Branch

Presented at the American Sociological Association Annual Conference in Boston, MA on August 2, 2008.)

Dementia Prevalence And Care In Assisted Living Care Settings


Assisted living residences have assumed a prominent role in the long-term care of people with dementia. The key question is whether these residences provide suitable care to the 42 percent of their residents who have moderate or severe cognitive impairment, according to scores on a validated measure (not all of whom were recognized by staff members to have dementia). Other studies have shown that compared to nursing homes, assisted living residences generally do not have different outcomes except when medical care is needed, in which case a nursing home is the preferred alternative to an assisted living residence.23

Can we infer that 48% do not have moderate or severe cognitive impairment?

Sloane PD, Zimmerman S, Gruber- Baldini AL, Hebel JR, Magaziner J, Konrad TR. Health and functional outcomes and health care utilization of persons with dementia in resi- dential care and assisted living facilities: comparisons with nursing homes. Gerontologist. 2005;45(1): 124–32.

A report from an existing center

Young and old make loving connections at intergenerational centers

August 1, 2013

Tricycles ply same playground path as wheelchairs, walkers

For Judy Sweetland, Fridays are special.

Sweetland, 74, is among about 400 older adults who live at the Providence Mount St. Vincent community in Seattle. On most Fridays, she makes her way to the Intergenerational Learning Center, the day-care center that’s also housed at “the Mount,” and reads board books to preschoolers.

“As soon as I appear at the door, they’re coming at the door and saying my name,” she said.

In Ewa near Honolulu, participants in a new adult day-care center also have the opportunity to interact with young children. The St. Francis Intergenerational Center, which is run by the St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii, is housed in a U-shaped building. The children are in one wing, the adults in the other, and they meet at the playground in the middle.

“A path runs through the playground. Part of the time you’ll see tricycles running by, and other times you’ll see wheelchairs and walkers,” said Sr. William Marie Eleniki, OSF. As president of the St. Francis Healthcare Foundation of Hawaii, Sr. Eleniki spearheaded construction of the intergenerational center, which had its grand opening Feb. 28. She expects it will be filled to capacity — 50 adults and 88 children — by September.

Opening minds, bypassing prejudice
“I think you’re teaching the children to be more accepting and less discriminating of the elderly,” she said. “The adults love to have the little kids come, singing songs and doing artwork.”

The Honolulu-based St. Francis Healthcare System also runs the Sister Maureen Intergenerational Learning Environment (SMILE) in a suburb of Honolulu. That facility, which also goes by the name of Franciscan Adult Day Center, can care for 35 people at a time and shares the grounds with a preschool and a school for grades kindergarten through 12 run by the Sisters of St. Francis. “The high school students have service learning opportunities with the adult center. Preschoolers will often sing for the adults or do some crafts,” said Cheryl Tamura, development and communication director for St. Francis Healthcare Foundation of Hawaii. “There are some intergenerational opportunities; it’s not as frequent as will be at the new center.”

As a Catholic health care provider, St. Francis is committed to creating healthy communities in the spirit of Christ’s healing ministry, Sr. Eleniki said. “It helps the seniors — people who go to adult day care live longer, they get involved, they read the newspaper and discuss it, they meet people and do other activities. Children — you’re giving them a good environment, you’re giving them a lot of good healthy skills. A lot of that positive reinforcement of being good creates people who are peacemakers who can improve our society.”

Good vibrations
In Seattle, the Mount was established in 1924 and the day-care center was added 22 years ago. Marie Hoover, director of the Intergenerational Learning Center, said the center can care for about 85 children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 6 years.

“We were brought in under the idea of establishing more resident-directed care, with more of a family-, community-type feel,” Hoover said.

The Sisters of Providence and Providence Health & Services own and operate the Mount. “The Providence mission statement is: ‘As people of Providence, we reveal God’s love for all, especially the poor and the vulnerable, through our compassionate service,'” Hoover said. “The children and staff of the Intergenerational Learning Center support the mission by supporting the loving connection between generations.

“Our service includes helping children to be compassionate, comfortable and open-hearted when interacting with people who are differently abled. The ILC children spread joy throughout the building and are part of the fabric that makes the Mount unique in the world of long-term care,” Hoover said.

While Sweetland is the only Mount resident who regularly schedules time with the children, Hoover and her staff plan formal interactions and encourage informal ones. Residents are welcome to drop by the day-care center whenever they wish.

Lunch buddies
“Babies will be put in strollers or wagons and go to the highest concentration of people, such as the cafeteria,” Hoover said.

“The older the children, the more specific the activity,” she said. “One of the highlights is that our oldest kids, the 4- and 5-year-olds, have an art studio. An art therapist works with the kids and the residents in the same class, creating incredible art. Really beautiful things come out of that, and it’s intergenerational.”

Once a month, four of the older children join four women residents of the Mount to make sandwiches for a homeless shelter. “The children often instruct the residents where to put the meat, where to put the cheese, how to put that together,” Hoover said.

The older residents are delighted to see the children, she said. “The moment they hear the kids, it’s as if life got breathed into the air. There’s light in their eyes, they perk up.”

She has noticed that being around children can trigger good memories. “Occasionally you’ll have somebody who reminisces, giving them the opportunity to access memories that aren’t always present.”

Sweetland said that every other week, four of the older children join residents for lunch. “We have four tables of residents, so one is at each table,” she said. “They don’t seem to mind being the only one at the table without their buddies.”

Familiarity brings acceptance
The intergenerational aspect is a big draw for the day-care center, Hoover said. Parents tell her that interacting with older people teaches their children to overlook physical differences and limitations. “They really become very comfortable with unusual appearances and walkers and those kinds of things,” she said.

David LaFazia’s daughter Audriella, 2, attends the day-care center, and his wife’s grandmother, Madeline Hansen, lives at the Mount. His older daughter, Emelisa, 6, attended the center until she started school.

“The girls always love being around older people, and I think a big part of that is their experience here at Mount St. Vincent,” said LaFazia, a social worker who previously worked in the assisted living facility at the Mount.

He said Hansen relishes the opportunity to spend time with her granddaughters and the other youngsters. “She loves the children,” he said. “Grandma’s very social, but a big part about her stories, about what’s happening, is her interaction with the children.

“One of the things that I think is really neat about the Intergenerational Learning Center is not only the scheduled activities that the residents have with the children, but also the impromptu ones, when the residents are walking in the hall and meet up with one or two children,” he said. “I think those interactions are so important to the residents and to the children.”

Have I mentioned they have been around for 20 years in other parts of the country?


As America’s population ages, many service providers and educators realize the potential in linking young and old people through intergenerational programs. These programs bring together children/youth and older people for mutual benefit. Shared site intergenerational programs are those where both generations receive ongoing services at the same time at a single site. Typically, these programs include a child care program with a nursing home or adult day services program. Intergenerational shared sites can contribute to positive relationships and emotional well being of young and elderly participants while supporting family caregivers.

Day-Care Programs Group Toddlers With the Elderly

Toddlers bop to surf music from a boom box, while a dozen senior citizens sit uneasily nearby — some dozing, others disinterested, and a few downright cranky.

But within five minutes, things start to change. Tito, a 95-year-old former truck driver with a hearing aid, smiles and bobs his head from side to side as a toddler stops by his chair to boogie. Rosie, a former nurse and teacher who can barely see, gets up to dance. And Bill, a 66-year-old retiree with Parkinson’s disease, bounces a little girl on his lap. By the end of the session, at the Mount Kisco Day Care Center in Westchester County, N.Y., it is hard to recognize the grumpy elders of a half-hour ago.

The two groups, at extremes of the aging spectrum, are at the forefront of a movement that is transforming elderly-care facilities and day-care centers alike. “Intergenerational” is becoming the new buzzword in the business of caring for both the very young and very old, as programs around the country join small children with elderly people who might otherwise be cooped up in retirement homes or living alone. The goal is to help the two age groups relate better — and in doing so, improve the energy and psychological outlook of elderly people as well as the social skills and confidence of pre-schoolers.

Though there have been experiments with the concept for years, it has only recently taken off. The number of facilities with joint care programs for the elderly and small children has grown by one-third, to close to 1,000 in the past five years, according to an estimate by Generations United, a Washington-based group that promotes intergenerational programs and policies.

And more are being started all the time. The Giles Health & Family Center, a day-care center for aging adults in Pearisburg, Va., is opening a children’s component by the end of this month. In July, the Macklin Intergenerational Institute in Findlay, Ohio, opened its doors. At the 189,000-square-foot “village,” the children often refer to the seniors as their “Grandmas” and “Grandpas.”

Experts say the programs encourage the kinds of relationships between young and old that once came naturally. In recent decades, the gap between generations has widened, with families becoming more spread out and elderly people fleeing for sunny retirement communities. Increasingly, older adults “may not be hearing a kid laughing or asked to change a diaper,” says Matthew Kaplan, a professor at Penn State University. Other proponents add that the concept offers communities a much more cost-effective way of providing care because resources and staff are shared.

Still, there are some concerns about regularly mixing the two groups, including worries that perpetually sniffling toddlers will pass germs to the vulnerable elderly. And questions linger over whether seriously ailing seniors — for example, those with advanced stages of dementia — are really the best thing for very small children.

Nevertheless, some studies suggest that being part of children’s lives can increase senior citizens’ sense of purpose and can lead to a healthier old age. One recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, for example, found that senior citizens who volunteered in the Baltimore public schools reported increased strength, as well as better walking ability and fewer falls.

Another study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias observed 48 older adults over the course of a week at an intergenerational site. Researchers took note of the apparent mood and behavior of the subjects, coding it every five minutes. Results showed that the participants’ general well-being was significantly better when they interacted with children than when they did not.

Don Moses knows all this firsthand. After his 82-year-old aunt moved in with him in Arcadia, Ohio, her increasing forgetfulness and boredom soon became more than he could handle. Last year, he enrolled her at a nearby adult day-care center that had a joint program with children, and her whole outlook changed after just the first day, he says. She became more enthusiastic, and in particular looked forward to seeing the children. “That’s all she talks about when she comes home — the kids she saw today,” says Mr. Moses, who recalls how thrilled she became when one child called her “Grandma.”

Such interactions can help children as well. One study of 200 preschool children in Northwest Ohio sought to compare the social skills of pre-schoolers in an intergenerational program with those in regular day care. Overall, those in the intergenerational program scored higher in social development. In particular, they scored much higher in social manners — saying “please” and “thank you.”

Holly Berger, whose four-year-old daughter, Maisy, has attended intergenerational day care since she was six months old, believes that her daughter’s daily exposure to the “neighbors” at the ONEgeneration Daycare center in Van Nuys, Calif., has contributed to her heightened social awareness and outgoing nature. Maisy often reaches out to elderly people in the street or in grocery stores, either to engage them in chitchat or just simply to hold their hand.

“She has no concept of that being strange or scary,” says Ms. Berger.

People in the field stress that the focus of intergenerational activity should always be more on the interaction — how well young and old relate — rather than the actual activity, whether it is bowling or baking cupcakes. At the day-care center in Mount Kisco, September’s “Intergenerational Activity Calendar” lists at least a couple of shared activities a day, such as making “jazzy jewelry,” “bowling for dollars,” and “glue the apples.”

But much of the interaction is casual. One recent day, 86-year-old Lucy Todisco, sits with a two-year-old boy named William, who is two-fisting crayons. “Who are you going to draw — me or you?” she asks. Farther back in the playroom, Karl Essell, 73, reads “My Five Senses” to two-and-a-half-year-old Elena. “I hear with my ears…” he reads, then asks her: “Where are your ears?” Elena dutifully points to the sides of her head. “Oh, that’s excellent!” Mr. Essell replies.

The room has few of the bright, primary colors that are common at many day-care centers. They could be jarring to the elderly. The colors in the Mount Kisco center are more neutral, and the atmosphere is cozy and plush, with a sort of family-room feel. The seniors reside at one end while the children are on the other end. They meet periodically throughout the day, either in playrooms or in an outdoor patio.

Oh, what we could do here at Space Coast Intergen Center!

Kuddos to Michigan! Helping out the Seniors and Children….. We can follow your lead…..

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan announces $2 million in support


Healthy Food Connect Initiative provides funding to nonprofits working to improve healthy food access for children and seniors

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan today announced it will award $2 million in grants to 20 programs designed to improve healthy food access for children and seniors in southeast Michigan. The grants are part of a two-year regional initiative called Healthy Food Connect, funded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and the Community Foundation.

Children and seniors are the two groups most affected by food insecurity in the seven-county region, and overall more than 780,000 people do not have consistent access to the foods they need to live healthy lives.

The Community Foundation’s Healthy Food Connect initiative seeks to connect children and seniors throughout the region to the people, places, programs and services necessary to ensure they have healthy food options every day. Through grantmaking and a series of coordinated education and training efforts, Healthy Food Connect will support and grow existing exemplary activities; extend the geographic reach and scope of successful programs; and foster additional collaboration and innovation in the regional food system network.

“We are pleased to support a diverse group of nonprofit organizations in pooling their collective expertise and resources to make a difference in the lives of children and seniors,” said Mariam C. Noland, president of the Community Foundation. “This is one of the largest regional healthy food access initiatives ever undertaken in southeast Michigan, and we believe it is going to have an impact on our youngest and oldest residents for years to come.”


Healthy Food Connect grants support projects that are collaborative, innovative and directly linked to food and health. Priority was given to projects with a strong health component, as well as those designed to expand or replicate successful food access projects or take innovative approaches to existing problems. Applications were accepted from partnerships of two or more organizations working together. The 20 programs funded reflect the collaborative efforts of 72 organizations across all seven counties of southeast Michigan.


Two different levels of funding were available. Leadership grants of up to $200,000 were made to support larger scale programs with the potential for systemic impact. Local impact grants of up to $75,000 were made to support projects with a smaller reach and/or that test out new ideas.

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