When this crossed our inbox we thought, what a marvelous idea. A coalition of local groups is seeking to bridge the generation(s) gap by organizing playdates that children (0-6 years old, though all welcome) and senior citizens can enjoy together. The first is coming up soon:
You’re Invited: Children and Seniors Play Together on Friday, May 18th for Forever Young, Forever Fun in Forest Hills
Does your extended family live far away? “Yes” is the answer for a number of DC residents, no matter the age. Politics, foreign service, the headquarters for national and international organizations, and top schools draw people from around the country and the world. This means family members may live hundreds of miles away or on the other side of the globe. And it means our country’s youngest and oldest residents are two groups that, more often than not, are deeply separated in day-to-day life.
With this in mind, children, seniors and “kids of all ages” are invited to enjoy stories, music and a craft at the inaugural “Forever Young, Forever Fun in Forest Hills” at the beautiful Forest Hills of DC Inclusive Senior Living (4901 Connecticut Avenue NW) on Friday, May 18 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Recognizing the growing gap between the bookend generations and a need for the youngest and the oldest to make a better connection, Linda Moreno, Life Enrichment Director, Forest Hills of DC Inclusive Senior Living; Jackie Mikolaski, Librarian, Cleveland Park Library; Stephanie Chong, Executive Director, Northwest Neighbors Village; and Kim Farmer, Co-President Friends of Forest Hills Playground came together to create, ““Forever Young, Forever Fun in Forest Hills” to create a local model for intergenerational learning.
There has been a growing trend to recreate this natural human connection by establishing programs that host children with seniors in organized settings so both can play and socialize. The programs exist only sporadically in the U.S. but where they do, young children are seen prompting long ago childhood memories that are then relayed to the children who listen intently. Seniors may hum an old tune or nursery rhyme that is still familiar to children today (“Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” has been around for at least 100 years) and all may break into song together.
Children benefit from learning from those who have decades of living to share and whose grandparents may live far away and seniors, particularly those who have experienced loss of a spouse or live far from children, may feel a bit less lonely. Both generations move, laugh and learn. If you are not afraid to shed a tear, watch the trailer for the documentary, The Growing Season.
Parents and caregivers: Bring the kids, grandkids, grandparents or your special neighbor who lives alone… anyone who wants to start off their Friday with a smile. The event will feature stories to spark imaginations, music to move bodies and a craft to promote finger dexterity and creativity. All of it together builds community between our neighbors of all ages. (Leave yourself a little time to sign in and ask for the Forever Young, Forever Fun in Forest Hills event.)
You can also see the event on Facebook.
Questions? Please contact Kim Farmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.