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June 11, 2013

Benefits of Intergenerational Programs for Older Adults

Intergenerational programs bring together children and older adults, offering them opportunities to interact and create ongoing, beneficial relationships for participants and the greater community. For children, intergenerational programs offer benefits such as improved academic performance, enhanced social skills, decreased negative behavior, and increased stability, according to education.com.

And according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are a number of benefits of intergenerational programs for older adults, too.

Those benefits include:

  • Enhanced Socialization: From 80+ committees and annual campus events to various group exercise and lecture opportunities, at Kendal at Oberlin, there are always ways to become involved, making isolationism a foreign term. And while chatting with your closest community friends can be more than fulfilling, sometimes all it takes to motivate yourself to get up and get involved are a child’'s shining eyes and beaming smile.
  • Stimulated Learning: According to the Wall Street Journal, more than half of the children younger than 8 in the U.S. have access to an iPad, iPhone, or similar touch-screen device. Imagine what their young brains could teach you about operating these new and innovative technologies!
  • Increased Emotional Support: Intergenerational programs give older adults the opportunity to participate in meaningful activity, decreasing loneliness, boredom, and depression while increasing self-esteem. According to education.com, “Regular participation in structured social and productive activities and membership in large social networks have been shown to independently benefit the health and functional outcomes as people age.”
  • Improved Health: Also according to education.com, older adults who regularly volunteer with children burn 20 percent more calories per week, experience fewer falls, are less reliant on canes, and perform better on memory tests than peers.

Intergenerational Opportunities at Kendal at Oberlin

Nestled inside Kendal at Oberlin is the Kendal Early Learning Center (KELC). Over the past 17 years, Kendal at Oberlin and KELC have worked closely to develop the KELC intergenerational program, one of our community’'s finest examples of sharing and collaboration.

Both children enrolled in the KELC intergenerational program and Kendal at Oberlin residents are welcome to participate in a variety of intergenerational experiences, such as:

  • Bus trips to local public libraries and Lorain County metro parks
  • One-on-one support during morning preschool curriculum
  • Shared community spaces, including the pool and the Stephens Care Center courtyard garden

What’s more, the greater Oberlin community was recognized as one of America’s Best Intergenerational Communities by Generations United and MetLife Foundation in 2012. (Read more about the honor here.) In addition, Generations United named Kendal’s intergenerational program as a Program of Distinction.

Visit Kendal Early Learning Center online and on Facebook, and download our free guide “Oberlin Ohio: A Great Place to Call Home” to uncover even more opportunities Kendal at Oberlin and its surrounding areas have to offer older adults.

Oberlin Living


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