As the history club of Crossroads High School exited Stoney Brook Assisted Living Center in Cove, the change was evident. Their visit with the residents changed their outlook on life and on themselves.
The first day of the history club’s project was to immerse themselves in the experiences of those who have witnessed history’s milestones. This included playing board and card games with the residents, said teacher Mandi Stai.
“This type of activity works to fill a void for students who do not have grandparents in their lives, as well as to use the information they learn in school for games such as trivia,” Stai said. “In addition, it helps to alleviate some of the isolation a resident may occasionally experience.”
Another component of the project involved the students compiling a biographies of the residents complete with photographs into books. Each resident and student will receive a book.
Crossroads History Club member Damante Jones found the visit with the residents to be worth the wait.
“We have been planning this idea for a long time now and we finally worked out the logistics and are enjoying our time with the residents,” Jones said.
Stai said while visiting with the teens brought joy to the residents, it also brought a sense of purpose to the students like Dylan Moore.
“Dylan is one of the many young people in our community who feel as though his opinions have no value due to his young age, and he feels that he has found his voice,” Stai said.
Moore agreed everyone has a purpose in life and is useful.
“Crossroads recognized that people, no matter their age, have a lot to contribute to society. Our voices are not discounted at Crossroads High School,” he said.
The history club plans to continue regular visits with the residents of Stoney Brook as part of the project, which is scheduled to last a year.
Benefits of intergenerational relationships
Crossroads High School’s history club has planned a yearlong project with the residents of Stoney Brook Assisted Living Facility. There are many benefits of intergenerational relationships for both youth and the elderly:
• Provide an opportunity for both to learn new skills.
• Give the child and the older adult a sense of purpose.
• Help to alleviate fears children may have of the elderly.
• Help children to understand and later accept their own aging.
• Invigorate and energize older adults.
• Help reduce the likelihood of depression in the elderly.
• Reduce the isolation of older adults.
• Fill a void for children who do not have grandparents available to them.
• Help keep family stories and history alive.
• Aide in cognitive stimulation as well as broaden social circles should a youth introduce technology into the life a senior.
Source: University of Florida