All Ages Win with Grandparent Adoption!
Inspired by a touching YouTube video of an intergenerational program in England, Sun Prairie mom Megan Davis started the successful Adopt-a-Grandparent program that connects Eastside Elementary children and Tallgrass Senior Living of Sun Prairie residents.
“Getting to know the residents through crafting and conversing is fabulous,” said Davis, who works with Tallgrass Sales Director Joelle Viana and Tallgrass Activities Director Aly Poepke to offer the ongoing intergenerational programming. “The relationships we have created bring such joy to the kids and the residents.”
Each month, Eastside Elementary students visit their Tallgrass adopted grandparents to spend quality time building kinship through a variety of activities, such as arts and crafts, reading and life story interviews.
“The feedback from the kids is touching,” said Davis, whose child participates in the program. “They love making the seniors smile and feel like they made a difference in someone’s day.”
Tallgrass residents are indeed feeling the love! Residents say that they find the students’ energy and bubbly personalities invigorating, and they look forward to their time with the kids.
“The kids are always full of piss and vinegar. Spending time with them is a lot of fun and brings us great joy,” said adopted Tallgrass grandpa Lynn Sommers. “We have developed real friendships with the kids, and we can’t wait for their smiling faces and hugs each visit.”
While Adopt-a-Grandparent makes older adults feel heard, valued and appreciated, the children involved benefit as well.
“The communication skills they are building, the respect for the older generation, and the fact that someone is listening to them and getting joy out of their interactions have all been positive outcomes,” Davis said. “Oftentimes it is the lessons beyond what we initially see that are the most valuable.”
All Ages, Life-enriching Benefits
Kids, especially those without their own grandparents, have a lot to gain from spending quality time with wiser, more experienced role-models.
Grandparents—real or adopted—help children learn:
- Sense of pride
- Life-long social skills
- Appreciation for the older generation
- Sense of history
In Tallgrass’s win-win intergenerational program, spending time with children helps older adult residents gain:
- A sense of purpose
- Self esteem
- Pride and joy
- Increased physical activity
- Mental stimulation
- Inspiration to overcome challenges
- Faith in the future generation
“We’ve been having a blast at Tallgrass Senior Living,” said Viana. “Building relationships between the generations is a fun learning experience not only for our residents and the children but for teachers and parents too.”
“I truly believe the idea of intergenerational learning can be life changing and build stronger communities,” said Davis, who is keeping Adopt-a-Grandparent going strong with a variety of intergenerational activities planned for this kids and Tallgrass seniors this year.
Tallgrass Senior Living, located at 605 Chase Boulevard, Sun Prairie, WI, offers independent living cottages and assisted living in a newly renovated community. For more information about Tallgrass’s Adopt-a-Grandparent program or lifestyle options, contact Joelle Viana at 608-225-6439 or JViana@MatthewsSeniorLiving.com or visit www.tallgrasssofsunprairie.com.