Assisted living residents in the Houston area are getting visits from some very special guests. The Baby Buddies program, a monthly volunteer event that is now in its sixth year, includes parents and young children that visit residents for half-hour play sessions.
The older adults who get a chance to participate in the intergenerational program have found that spending time with the small children really brightens their entire day. For many, it brings back fond memories of their own children when they were small.
Johanna Smith, an assisted living facility resident, talked about her own memories with the Houston Chronicle, “I love children, I had four boys and a girl, which kept me busy, but I love them all.”
Residents spend time engaging with the children, playing games, singing, and reading. Both young and old benefit from the experience.
Melissa Melton, the creator of the inspiring program, spoke with the Houston Chronicle about the experience as well:
“We refer to them as grandmas and grandpas. They really treat us like family and this facility, in particular, is so warm and welcoming to us. We picked a good one. It’s not sterile it’s like you’re sitting in grandma and grandpa’s living room. We read stories with them, sing songs, they sing and do the hand movements with us, and then we visit with them.”
She was referring to the Unlimited Care Cottages in Kingwood, Houston, one of the homes the group visits. The home-like environment makes the experience all the more enjoyable for everyone involved.
It is important to still stay connected with the larger community as we age. There is a tendency, especially within nursing homes and assisted living communities, to spend the majority of time with people of the same age group. Life has more to offer than that, and we still have plenty to offer it as well.
These types of programs and experiences allow older adults to regain a connection to the community while sharing their own experiences, happiness, and knowledge with younger generations.
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