Faith in Action - Washburn County and Lakeland Family Resource Center are excited to be collaborating with a mutual goal of building and sustaining intergenerational relationships in our community.  Together they will be hosting a monthly intergenerational playgroup for young families and seniors. It will be held on the third Friday of every month from 10:00-11:00 AM at Lakeland’s new location at 819 Ash Street.  The dates for the remainder of 2017: October 20, November 17, and December 15. They will offer story time, an activity, simple crafts, and conversation. Cookies, juice, and coffee will be served when the program ends at 11:00 AM.

Intergenerational playgroups can help relieve the feeling of isolation that seniors often experience, and it offers young families and seniors a chance to develop connected relationships. Given this opportunity to share time together, seniors and children can enrich each other’s lives in many ways.

Some of the many benefits for seniors:

-Older adults who regularly spend time with children burn 20% more calories per week, experience fewer falls, are less dependent on canes, and score higher on memory tests than their peers.

-Seniors with dementia and other cognitive impairments experience more positive emotions during interactions with children than they do during non-generational activities.

-Older adults who experience close intergenerational relationships consistently report less depression, better physical health, and higher degrees of life satisfaction. They also show a tendency to be happier with their current life situation and more hopeful for the future.

-Interacting with children helps stimulate seniors both mentally and physically.

Some of the many benefits for children:

-Children are positively reinforced for appropriate manners, patience, empathy, and tolerance. They are introduced to the concept of interacting with people who may need extra help or a gentle approach.

-A child’s sense of confidence and leadership builds as he or she experiences unconditional love and acceptance from seniors.

-They further develop their communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and their positive attitudes toward aging.

-Older children who are mentored in intergenerational programs are 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27% less likely to begin using alcohol, and 52% less likely to skip school.

We encourage young families and seniors to join us for our new intergenerational playgroup. If you are a senior who would like to attend but do not have transportation, Faith in Action has volunteer drivers who can provide rides to and from the event at no cost. Please contact their office at 715-635-2252 for more information!

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