People sometimes assume that moving to a retirement home means spending all your time with people your own age. But that’s not always the case. That’s because more and more retirement homes are offering intergenerational programs.
These programs offer seniors and young people an opportunity to connect in a variety of ways.
It may involve children or post-secondary students dropping in from time to time. But it can go further than that. One retirement home in London, Ontario went so far as to offer three university music students rent-free apartments onsite in exchange for almost daily musical performances.
Intergenerational programs may also involve residents volunteering for agencies and causes outside the retirement home that benefit young people. This recognizes that many seniors living in retirement homes still have a lot to contribute to the community at large.
According to the National Council on the Aging in the US, It involves the sharing of skills, knowledge or experience between old and young.
In other words, the benefits go both ways, to seniors and young people.
When searching for a retirement home, ask about intergenerational programming
If you’re helping someone in your life find a retirement home, consider how important maintaining a connection with youth might be to them. It’s something you may want to keep in mind when you compare programming at different homes.
Here are a few questions you might ask over the phone or during a tour:
What sort of intergenerational programs do you have?
If young people come into your retirement home to volunteer, what sort of orientation do they get? Do you match youth with specific residents, and if you do, what’s involved?
What sort of opportunities do you have for residents to pass on their knowledge and experience to young people?
Are there any particular success stories you can share?
This doesn’t necessarily mean you should rule out a retirement home if it doesn’t have an intergenerational program. Perhaps they’re keen on developing one. You may even want to get involved in helping them develop it if you have particular ideas or useful community connections.
Finding the right retirement home
If you’re searching for a retirement home in the Ottawa area, we can help. On average, we save families 80 hours that they would otherwise spend searching for a suitable new retirement community for their parents. And in some situations, we’re able to offer that help at no charge.