The Rise of Intergenerational Connections

December 9, 2019

It’s no secret that the ministries of CRISTA are unique in their own ways. From schools to radio stations, camps, senior living, and global relief missions, CRISTA Ministries is a family of ministries dedicated to loving God by serving people worldwide and on our campus.

In today’s society, it’s easy to divide up our communities and activities by age: we brainstorm ways the young can help and care for the old, but perhaps it’s time to discover the ways our elders can help those that are younger. Recent studies are pointing to the idea that the experience of life in a multigenerational community is what really teaches us how to be human.

Over the years, King’s Schools and CRISTA Senior Living have found ways to partner and give the students and residents of the Shoreline campus opportunities to create friendships. More recently, the residents of the Assisted Living homes have been able to spend some time each week reading books, playing games, singing songs, and making crafts with little visitors.

Every Tuesday at 10 am, a classroom of Preschool students visits with Assisted Living residents. While the activities vary per week, the smiles during that hour remain consistent.

“The intergenerational experience that children have at King’s Preschool when spending time with CRISTA Senior Living residents is a benefit to both the senior living residents and the children at King’s preschool,” says Jessica Scanzon, Preschool Principal. “Elder members of CRISTA Senior Living find great joy in reading stories, talking to and singing with King’s Preschool students or sharing God’s word in a devotion together.”

Research has shown that intergenerational care is good for not only the elderly but also the young. Generational diversity should be viewed as an asset and fully leveraged. One way King’s Preschool does this is by acknowledging the young students and the elder senior living members’ needs for stimulation and companionship. Creating a space on the King’s campus for these intergenerational friendships benefits both parties.

“King’s Preschool students have the opportunity to communicate and spend time with our “CRISTA Grandmas and Grandpas” and experience a different social setting – an environment with adults where they need to be aware of their own bodies and ought to be careful around their elders,” said Mrs. Scanzon. “Children love to receive safe and kind attention and support from adults, this gives them the opportunity to use different social and emotional skills  while understanding that they get to be a part of caring for and connecting with their CRISTA grandparents.”