From shying away to hugging for goodbye, Vanderhoof’s residents from different ends of the age spectrum have bonded over a year of games, crafts, and music.
On May 26, Stuart Nechako Manor wrapped up another year of its intergenerational program with a final visit from Northside Christian School’s Kindergarten students.
“At the beginning of each year, they are a little shy,” said Kindergarten teacher Anne Egli. “Their ability to relate to their friends at the manor has just gone up…they are now very comfortable at this stage.”
During monthly visits, students prepared homemade cookies, worked on crafts or other projects with resident partners, as well as played team games such as bean bag tossing or parachute tag.
“They see the same seniors, get comfortable, and sometimes they chatter, play or work on crafts together,” Egli said.
It’s also an opportunity for students to become familiar with equipment and behaviour that they may not otherwise encounter in their daily life, explained the manor’s recreation therapist Marnie Bell.
“They learn how to act around wheelchairs and walkers, why they are using them, how they live here,” Bell said. “They run into different behaviours, some stemming from dementia.”
The manor’s intergenerational project also involved visits from W. L. McLeod Elementary students, and its residents also visited the school’s classroom last month to compare the new technology with their own school memories.
“It’s been rewarding to keep that relationship with both schools,” Bell said. “It’s a great opportunity for residents, particularly those who don’t have grandkids in the area.”