The NSSRC recently experienced Close Encounters of the Daycare Kind. According to eyewitness accounts, an invasion of a half-dozen little people timidly filed into the Centre, on a mission to make FIRST CONTACT with our members. They were approximately 3ft in stature, hands were small as was their feet. They had high-pitched, squeaky voices and all seemed curious by nature.
Music therapist Johann McBee, deployed his signature steel tongue drum, in an attempt to communicate with the curious beings. The little people appeared tentative at first as they examined the strange, “saucer-shaped” instrument from a safe distance. Johann tapped the drum gently and urged them to respond. Almost immediately, the haunting tones and melodic chimes the drum produced were too irresistible for their inquisitive nature. Feeling more at ease, they became rambunctious and even began SLAPPING AWAY at that EXPENSIVE DRUM with GREAT FERVOR under Johann’s uneasy gaze. Members were thoroughly amused and much to their delight, the little people eagerly stayed to sing songs with them.
The children from the Neighborhood House Daycare joined music therapy with our members one afternoon. Johann fired-up his guitar and the group happily sang songs about “creepy spiders and noisy farm animals.” Additionally, members were pleasantly entertained as they watched the children boldly experiment with the steel tongue drum.
Intergenerational programs bring together different generations to enhance social interaction, cooperation, and exchange between older adults and children in mutually beneficial activities. These activities may involve music, arts/crafts, pen pal clubs, mentoring/tutoring, baking, or storytelling.
Benefits of intergenerational activities:
1. Increase self-esteem and provide older adults and children a sense of purpose when sharing skills, knowledge, and experiences.
2. Decrease isolation and depression, especially in older adults.
3. Mutually learn about one another (share laughter, pass along history/wisdom, create friendships and bonds).
4. Gain positive attitudes and understanding of aging (dispel myths/stereotypes).
5. Children acquire higher scores in their studies and are less likely to skip school.
6. Build stronger communities.
Intergenerational programs will enrich and enhance the lives of our members and the daycare children from the Neighborhood House. Monthly visits from the daycare will occur every third week on Thursday’s at the NSSRC. See you there!
~ Karen Mah