Many of the youngest Americans attend daycare. So do many of the oldest. What if kids and elders who needed care during the day spent this time together rather than apart?
They do at the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care in Milwaukee, which was founded by visionary nun and nurse Edna Lonergan in 1999. Each of the center’s two campuses—one on the south side of town and one on the north—serves preschoolers and frail or isolated elders from morning to evening every weekday. Twice a day, there’s a formal intergenerational activity or class, and there’s plenty of casual mixing, too.
We got to visit these two campuses last week and speak with Sr Edna in person. What she has accomplished is remarkable to say the least. It all started with her vision years ago of watching a small child making an elderly person smile.