Connecting Young and Old

Creating joy through intergenerational programs in senior living.

Betty Cox had been living with her daughter for about five years when she realized the challenges of living in an intergenerational household.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Betty Cox

“Living with my daughter was wonderful, but I never planned to live with my kids for the rest of my life,” Betty says. “They have a life of their own, and they need to be able to live that life, so it was time for me to move on.”

With the most difficult decision out of the way, Betty’s daughter took on the task of finding a new home for her mother and discovered Hibiscus Court, an assisted-living and memory-care community.

With its vast array of services and resident programs, Betty says she could not have found a better location had she searched for it herself.

“My daughter said this was by far the best place they found, and I absolutely agree,” Betty enthuses. “There is so much that they do for you here, and with all the activities, you can be as busy as you want to be here. It’s really ideal for me.”

In addition to its assisted-living program, Hibiscus Court also provides senior daycare services, short-term respite stays for seniors recovering from illness or surgery, and a secure memory-support community called The Garden.

Part of the care provided incorporates daily, weekly and seasonal activities that include regular interaction with the community outside of Hibiscus Court, including intergenerational programs.

“Partnerships that we have developed with Jellybean Junction Day Care, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, Hoover Middle School and Melbourne High School enables us to provide a variety of intergenerational programs,” says Paige Blossom, the resident programming coordinator.

“For instance, the young Jellybean children come regularly to perform songs and entertain our residents, and Hoover Middle School recently brought its orchestra and show choir to perform.

“Our Lady of Lourdes and Melbourne High students regularly complete interactive activities such as arts and crafts, and on Earth Day, students will be engaging our residents and making edible dirt cakes to celebrate the day.”

According to the findings of a study from LeadingAge.org titled “Intergenerational Programming in Senior Housing,” the benefits to both young and old include creating an increased sense of community, a decreased sense of isolation and an increased trust across ages. Seniors enjoyed increased self-esteem and feeling of worth, while the younger participants felt a greater understanding of issues facing both youth and senior adults.

“We have learned that the partnership with Hibiscus Court benefits our students immensely,” says Brigitte de Vries, public relations coordinator at Our Lady of Lourdes. “Many students do not have grandparents in their lives. They’ve either passed on or they’re not local, or perhaps they’ve never known them. And many of the residents that interact with our students do not have regular, personal contact with their grandchildren.

“Our pre-K students go home and tell their families about the stories they’ve heard and the history learned. Our middle school students learn communication and compassion as they realize the elderly are still people needing care and companionship. The partnership helps our students value history and personal connections.”

Programs including the intergenerational activities are the things Betty likes most about Hibiscus Court.

“I enjoy everything we do here,” Betty exudes. “I enjoy the programs and the music events. We’re always celebrating holidays and dressing up the place. We have a lot of fun here.

“And that’s part of the reason it has become home to me so quickly. I feel very comfortable here. The staff is wonderful, and the atmosphere is incredible. It’s such a joy to be here. It really is.”

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    • Hibiscus Court

      Hibiscus Court, offering luxurious senior living in Melbourne Florida, is an elegant yet affordable assisted living and memory care community in Brevard County.... Read More